Can gene therapy alter reproductive cells?

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Ricardo Santiago

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Can gene therapy alter reproductive cells?
« on: 20/11/2011 11:30:02 »
Ricardo Santiago  asked the Naked Scientists:
Dear Chris,

I guess it is already possible to identify that a person has a genetic disease that he/she would pass on to descendents.

Is it likely that it will be possible, in the future, to genetically treat his/her reproductive cells to correct them and supress the transmission of said disease?

Best regards again!

Or, how we say here:

Ricardo Santiago

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 20/11/2011 11:30:02 by _system »


Offline CliffordK

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Can gene therapy alter reproductive cells?
« Reply #1 on: 01/12/2011 07:35:27 »
Certainly one option that is being practiced is artificial insemination, which would allow prospective parents to choose donors with the desired characteristics.

Most of the current gene therapies involve viral delivery vectors.  However, the sex organs are somewhat protected from the viral therapies. 

In the future, however, there may be the ability to directly manipulate the genes and chromosomes in an egg, and thus treat a possible disease prior to implantation.  Doing so would certainly be controversial.  If it was done with additive mechanism of inserting new DNA without making a splice, then it could cause problems for second-generation children.

Artificial insemination with donor eggs or sperm would likely be much cheaper, and perhaps more stable.