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Sometimes I wonder if that uterine cleft may have been nature’s way of saying, “I don’t think you’re a fit specimen, let’s end it here.”

Without modern medicine, I’d never have made it out alive. I’m forever grateful I did. That’s what I think about every time I read fresh reports on the ways we can now tinker with our genes—the ever-expanding ability of scientists and doctors to save us from suffering and untimely death.

These days, using the tiniest surgical and biological scissors, we can snip away bad genes and insert good ones. We can prevent fatal inherited disorders by altering embyros. Gene therapy has allegedly cured one boy of sickle cell anemia (an inherited blood disease that affects millions worldwide) and more trials are underway. We are tweaking pigs so they can grow human organs for transplant, and genetically engineering mice so they won’t carry Lyme disease. There’s no doubt that there are enormous potential benefits to these gene therapies, once the techniques are honed and proven safe. But we are still in early days, and we need to be aware of the dangers, too.

… Read More

Image: By genome.gov/research, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47702540

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