UK scientists want to genetically modify human embryos, too

Researchers in the United Kingdom are seeking permission to begin genetically modifying human embryos, something that has proven highly controversial but is already underway in some parts of the world. The scientists, if they receive permission, will modify the embryos as part of a research effort that'll study the very earliest stages of development; the embryos used would be donated from individuals who pursued IVF procedures

The request was likely spurred by a recent announcement from China that scientists there became the first (and only) to successfully tweak a human embryo's DNA. While the area of science could prove essential to developing effective treatments for certain conditions, some are seeking a ban on such efforts, citing concerns ranging from the religious to practical.

The request was made by stem cell scientist Kathy Niakan of the Francis Crick Institute in London. These altered embryos, assuming permission is given, will not be authorized for implantation. One area of research aims to uncover why some women have a miscarriage before the fetus reaches term.

In a statement to The Guardian, Niakan reassured that this research project would not lead to the development of so-called designer babies. Some have criticized embryo modification, citing concerns that it could eventually lead to "designer babies" — children who were modified to have certain traits, hair and eye color, and more.

SOURCE: The Guardian