Ethical & Social Implications of Gene Editing

Many of the stem cells being studied are referred to as pluripotent, meaning they can give rise to any of the cell types in the body but they cannot give rise on their own to an entirely new body. (Only the earliest embryonic cells, which occur just after fertilization, can give rise to a whole other organism by themselves.) Other stem cells, such as the ones found in the adult body, are multipotent, meaning they can develop into a limited number of different tissue types. One of the most common stem cell treatments being studied is a procedure that extracts a few stem cells from a person's body and grows them in large quantities in the laboratory—what scientists refer to as expanding the number of stem cells. Once a sufficient number have been produced in this manner, the investigators inject them back into the patient. You could say that medicine up until now has been all about replacements. If your heart valve isn't working, you replace it with another valve, say from a pig. Withregenerative medicine, you're treating the cause and using your own cells to perform the replacement. The hope is that by regenerating the tissue, you're causing the repairs to grow so that it's like normal.

Genetic disorders may or may not be heritable, i.e., passed down from the parents' genes. In non-heritable genetic disorders, defects may be caused by new mutations or changes to the DNA

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