From mother to child

As many of us I am sure, I was confronted with the possibility of unknowingly passing on a disease or disorder via my genes to my children.  Perhaps previously matters were easier in that our knowledge did not reach the level we currently enjoy. Hence a little feeling of tossing the dice so to speak.

From mother to child as I have renamed an article that points to some discoveries that again will help humans, using non human primates as a basis for their research. The link however between the article and the title I have used is not obvious. Should you indeed have the time in speaking of research Dr Shoukrat Mitalipov does an excellent  job in explaining the implications of their research and why a screening procedure should take place later than is currently the case.  Yes, I am talking about the transmisson of specific genetic diseases and the prevention thereof. I am not going to elaborate on the ethical aspects of screening, however as they say prevention is the mother of  all cures.

Most importantly this kind of translational research establishes a clear link between research on animal species and the resulting benefits to humans. We may be far from preventing transmission, however understanding the underlying mechanisms at this level may eventualy translate into ensuring you and I do not end up with children whose lives are unduly diminished or incapacitated. Of course being incapacitated or diminished is also a point of view as a function of whom you ask.

Dangerous also is the capacity to 'choose', 'select' or 'improve'  mankind when there are no strict ethical guidelines one needs to abide by. Refer to Eugenism. We should however not loose out of sight the benefits to mankind that this type of core research brings us. Those that are affected or afflicted as well as their families, often a silent majority, have great hopes that the same research may also lead to cures or if this is not possible yet, to improvements in their quality of life.
This kind of ethical and study oversight does take place in core, clinical research and in pre-clinical work all the way to marketing drugs and beyond. Prevention and monitoring work hand in hand, albeit step by step. Too fast for some too slowly for others and almost always from mother to child.

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