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Kristopher L. Charles
Professor Pamela Reed
Composition I, 0800-0915
September 16, 2015
Standing Views on Oocyte Modification
Reproductive Genetics is the use of reproductive and genetic
technologies to select and genetically modify embryos with germinal choice
technology for the purpose of human enhancement; such as the curing of
genetically passed down diseases before they are ever inherited. Germinal
choice technology is defined as technique(s) used for the screening of the
blastocysts (early embryo) which then give the information about the DNA.
This specific technique is called Oocyte modification. The technique is used
to pull one cell from the mothers blastocyst and it is modified, using the
donated blastocyst from another woman. Now that all future cells in the
mothers embryo will be copied from this modified cell. Removing a disease
or disorder from a child before it is ever born; who would otherwise be forced
to live with a disease or disorder that cannot be currently cured or easily
treated. This not only gives this child the opportunity at a normal life, but all
of the descendants after this child will not be at risk of these awful and unfair
living circumstances that were given through the genetics passed down to
them via conception. On the other hand there are many who raise the point
of calling this technique questionable, wrong, and immoral. This does, in
many peoples opinions, violate all the principles on which humanity has

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founded itself; many have claimed that this is playing God and condemning
all future generations. All while the FDA has basically stated that morals and
opinions do not have a place inside of scientific discussion.
Donna from Prolife said the following, The process of pronuclear
transfer destroys two nuclear embryos and is a form of reproductive embryo
cloning: cloning from one embryo, using a second donor embryo, to create a
third embryo that will be a clone (i.e. a partial copy of the first). As gruesome
as it sounds to destroy two human beings in order to make a third out of the
transplanted parts, this idea is actually being explored by our own FDA.
(Donna, 2013) Donna makes a very compelling point. When exactly does life
begin? Who says that this technique isnt creating life to destroy it in order to
recreate a more efficient life form? Is this having any real effects on this
child? Does this technique actually make a clone? Or does it simply alter its
mutations to the point of being what they were supposed to be prior to the
nucleotides changing and causing a different codon? A codon that calls for
the wrong amino acid for that specific function. Which in turn causes a
mutation in the deoxyribonucleic acid and in turn creates serious problems in
that individual such as mutations and disorders that can or cannot be cured
or treated. If this is okay, then what are the actual limits of this technology?
Where will scientists stop? Donna from Prolife calls for a check of morality
concerning this technique and field of research.
FDA recognizes that there are ethical and social policy issues related
to genetic modification of eggs and embryos, and that these issues have the

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potential to affect regulatory decisions; however, such issues are outside the
scope of this meeting. (Food and Drug Administration, 2014) The FDA has
made it very clear that all opinions and moral objections have no room or
place in whether or not this technique is okay to be used on the homosapian
race or explored further before going into human trials. FDA views these
matters as they are scientific and factual. Any and all opinion, which are
always changing with the times and people in every generation, have little to
no value when it comes to the advancement of our knowledge and
advancement as a species. Opinions are flimsy and can be changed at the
drop of a hat. All the while facts are forever and solid. They have and are
tested perpetually by all kinds of individual. Which goes to show the
consistency of this knowledge. Though it may change, it will only change
with the growth of our knowledge in that field of research. Not like opinions,
they will change with the different vantage points of life for every single
individual on this planet. This causes a very unreliable scope of
information. It gives no real reliable input. Only what an individual,
normally without any real research, thinks is okay to do; which calls into
question all of the value of everything that is not factual in the scientific
field. So the FDA tossing out anything that is not factual is completely
understandable. FDA cannot have any data that is questionable when it
comes to a serious and impacting subject such as this.
"What the Chinese did is they took human embryos that harbored a
mutation that cause a certain blood disorder and they literally went in and

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very precisely cut out the bad piece and replaced it with a good piece to
eliminate that particular disorder," Eric Schadt, director of the Icahn Institute
for Genomics and Multi-scale Biology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York,
explained on "CBS This Morning." (Welch, A., 2015) Even though this
experiment was done on a non-fertile embryo this was still considered
extremely controversial. The Chinese are the first to perform any experiment
like this on a human embryo. This is a huge first step for this Reproductive
Genetics field. With this experiment will come all kinds of ifs, buts, and canwes? This is being viewed by all communities, whether negatively or
positively put, a stepping stone to greater pathways in this field. This will
give rise to the capabilities, if allowed, to cure diseases before they are ever
handed down; to give someone, who would otherwise not be capable of, a
life. It would in fact be at the same scale of giving someone their freedom
and independence. These scientists are aiming directly at major diseases
such as Huntingtons Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell Anemia, Tay Sachs
Disease, etc.
Each side of this topic has valid points in their own perspective. Some
back their opinions up with morals. Others reason purely with moral opinions
and teachings handed down through generations. With the FDA making it
clear that opinions and morals have no place when it comes to this topic, it
seems to add fuel to the fire on the opposing sides of the Oocyte
Reproduction technique. This argument of morals seems to have been put
aside due to the preference of fact over moral opinion. Yet, it seems, the

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discussions and guideline changes might just be starting to heat up as
advancements are made and laws are questioned in this field.

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References

Welch, A. (2015). Designer baby controversy: Scientists edit genome of


human embryo.
Retrieved September 15, 2015 from:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/designer-

baby-controversy-scientists-edit-genome-of-human-embryo/

Donna. (2013). FDA Explores Oocyte Modification in Assisted Reproduction.


Retrieved
September 14, 2015 from:

http://www.aaplog.org/get-involved/letters-to-

members/fda-explores-oocyte-modification-in-assisted-reproduction/

Food and Drug Administration. (2013). FDA Briefing Document Cellular,


Tissue, and Gene
Therapies Committee. Retrieved September 14, 2015 from:
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/BloodVaccine
sandOtherBiologics/CellularTissueandGeneTherapiesAdvisoryCommittee/UCM385461.pdf