While the title of this post may sound like the introduction to a joke, it’s actually a legitimate news story. At the end of August, it was announced that scientists had successfully created monkeys that had genetic material from two mothers instead of just one. While this breakthrough isn’t considered to be cloning, the techniques used to achieve this goal were related to cloning.
So, why is it significant that scientists were able to create monkeys that had genetic material from two mothers? The reason that this is a big deal is because it could allow human women (yes, not just monkeys, but humans) who had inherited diseases successfully have children who are healthy and free of those diseases. However, while this sounds like a very positive thing on the surface, this news has already created a lot of controversy.
If you aren’t sure why people would be opposed to this type of practice, there are actually a variety of answers to that question. The issues that people are raising about the potential of this practice include ethical, legal, safety and social issues. One of the biggest concerns that this news has already raised is that because it would permanently alter genes for future generations, it would change the “germline.” Because of the possibility of unforeseen consequences coming along with the alteration of the germline, there has been a long-standing precedent of not crossing this line.
While this is exciting news and a very impressive scientific accomplishment, only time will tell if this is something that begins to be applied to the human race.