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American scientists alter gene makeup of babies ,,

The BBC and the British Scientific journal Human Reproduction on Friday last, announced that a group of US scientists has successfully altered the genetic make up of babies.

But Jacques Cohen, one of the scientists who developed the technique in the United States, denied that the children had been born with altered genes. However the journal reported on Friday that the first human babies whose genetic make-up had been artificially altered had been born.//

Though the newborn babies were healthy, the technique, which led to their birth, has been condemned as unethical by some British scientists, who said it amounted to human cloning.

Genes from the eggs of donor women were added to the eggs of infertile women in an attempt to cure their fertility problems and up to 30 of the children were born as an unintended result of an experimental programme at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St Barnabas in New Jersey, the journal said.

The children who are new one year old have a small number of genes not inherited from either parent. Though this break through marks a watershed in man’s progress in the field of Genetics, the ethical issues related to cloning continue to haunt the medical fraternity.


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