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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Scientists in Oregon have developed a technique that could be used to prevent certain genetic diseases. They've demonstrated it in monkeys and are anxious to try it in people. The technique raises ethical questions, however, because it makes a permanent genetic change not just in an individual, but in all generations that follow.
The technique involves an unusual set of genes in the human body. Most of our genes are in our chromosomes, which are in the cell's inner sanctum, the nucleus. But 37 human genes are outside the nucleus. They are contained in tiny bodies called mitochondria, which float around in our cells. Mitochondria are the mini power plants for our cells. And mutations in the genes inside mitochondria can cause disease.
Shoukhrat Mitalipov and his colleagues at Oregon Health and Science University are trying to figure out how to treat this class of rare genetic diseases. They've been working with the eggs of rhesus monkeys. If you fix a genetic problem in an egg, you will fix it in all the cells the egg grows into — the whole animal.
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