勇敢接纳新细胞?

伦敦——英国人类受精和胚胎学管理局(HFEA)正在进行公共咨询,以了解人们对旨在防止因被称为线粒体的细胞结构发生突变而导致遗传不治之症的备受争议的新型医疗程序的看法。研究的支持者称反对这项研究就是反对挽救儿童生命和阻碍科学发展。但这种观点忽略了辩论中的一个关键因素:这项技术将造成遗传改变并永久传递给子孙后代。

线粒体是为细胞提供能量的“电池”,含有细胞核外全部的遗传物质——线粒体共包含37种基因,约占人类基因构成的0.2%。由于从母亲处继承的卵子是上述基因的载体,新技术意在使用未发生线粒体突变的健康女性捐赠者的卵子来取代基因突变的母亲的线粒体。这将导致胚胎包含来自三方的遗传物质——孩子的父亲、母亲和卵子捐献者。

因此真正的问题在于公众对跨越原有医疗界限,并将通过改造人类生殖细胞(精子和卵子等生殖细胞序列,包含子女可以继承的遗传物质)传递给子孙后代的不可逆转的遗传改变作何感想。

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