This article from the Guardian Newspaper caught my eye. After reading it, it got me thinking about a number of things. Firstly it made me think about the problems with reprogramming cells, and given that in this trial they were trying to only change one pairs of letters of genetic code it seems that reprogramming is not an insurmountable problem.
Safety is a concern but I think that this demonstrates that the risks are not going to remain a problem. It seems that in relation to genetic alteration precision is key, and given the attempts to improve this, in the near future I think we will see the practice become easier and safer.
This will then lead to some major problems to those who oppose genetic technology and rely on the risks that might be caused. As more and more research is done the more ridiculous apocalypse arguments will become even weaker than they already are because we will have evidence demonstrating the safety and check systems in place for genetic technology.
The second issue relates to pharma companies. I quote “The scientists now hope to partner with a major pharmaceutical firm and work towards trials in people”. To me this is disconcerting. Something as important and potentially beneficial as this is reliant on the interests of pharma companies in order to be carried through to fruition.
Personally I think this is an indictment of the UK government and their unwillingness to really promote research in the UK. My own view is that research is an area that the UK could excel in a greater extent that now, but I do not think this is possible without government grants and support.
As always I would be interested in what you all think.