Logic purists will always call the appeal to the slippery slope a fallacy. You cannot argue against A just because it might lead to B.
Oh Huxley, what is your beloved country about to do?
In science fiction movies, it seems like it is easy to edit the genetics of a living organism. In reality, it is very, very difficult. A new technique in genetic engineering is creating quite a buzz in the genetics world because it allows researchers to do just that: edit the DNA of living cells.
There maybe new hope for the millions of patients worldwide that suffer from multiple sclerosis, better known as MS. MS is a debilitating and progressive disease where a patient's own immune system attacks the protective covering around the cells of the nervous system. This causes a wide range of varying and unpredictable symptoms including fatigue, decreased mobility, and visual disturbances.
An excellent piece by Beth Daley from the New England Center for Investigative Reporting called "Overused and Misunderstood" is a must read. It is about the new non-invasive prenatal screening tests offered by companies that claim they are 99% accurate. These screens are done early in pregnancy using only a maternal blood sample giving couples an eariler look at the health of their unborn baby.
The technique that the United States and, more seriously, the United Kingdom are considering bringing to the IVF clinic, which creates embryos with three genetic parents, is often "mitochondrial replacement" or "mitochondrial transfer."
Paul Knoepfler, a vocal stem cell researcher, has penned an open letter to the UK Government asking for them to put the breaks on the three-parent embryo. I post it in its entirety because the whole thing needs to be read.
Paul Knoepfler is a stem cell researcher in California. His work focuses on the reasons pluripotent stem cells (both induced and embryonic) form tumors. He is also a writer and a blogger which is unusual for a research scientist.
You have no doubt seen a video of a friend on Facebook being doused with buckets of ice water. What would possess a human being to do something so chilling? It is the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often called Lou Gehrig's Disease. ALS is a devastating, progressive neurodegenerative disease that is fatal and has no cure.