Fixing God's mistakes by germline gene therapy

taguebw at REMOVEwfu.edu taguebw at REMOVEwfu.edu
Sat Jun 13 04:47:25 EST 1998


In article <6lual9$kbc$1 at nnrp1.dejanews.com>, ramanp at my-dejanews.com wrote:

> Germline gene therapy is an important area of genetic engineering...

[SNIP]

 Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to prune some
> ‘unwanted deadly' genes from our family trees forever?    I would greatly
> appreciate any thoughts, suggestions or comments that anybody might have on
> this serious issue.                                         Thanks,          
>                                       Priya Raman
> 


I guess the major problem that I have with germ line therapy is that it
assumes we know what we are doing; it assumes we know all the activities
of a particular gene/protein. The best example is sickle cell anemia. This
can be a devasting disease in homozygotes. But heterozygotes are resistant
to malaria. Does that make the sickle cell allele bad or good. Depends on
the environment; probably depends on other genes. Can we safely say that
there are "unwanted" genes or do we simply not know enough about the
function of these unwanted alleles? I think the major problem with germ
line therapy is our ignorance.....

My 2 electrons....

Brian

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