City College Times

Letter to Editor and response: ‘Making perfect babies’

Editorial Board

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Dear City College Times Editors,

Whilst reading your article opinion “Making perfect babies,” I found the following issues:

1. There is no author for the opinion/ article. In other words, the person who wrote such article/opinion is nowhere to be found.

2. Your statement is wrong: “Genes define our appearance and can contribute to our health but it does not determine for a fact that we are going to develop a specific disease.” Genes do determine the development of diseases. Consider sickle cell anemia and Marfan syndrome.

3. Your statement is wrong: “We have the technology to scan an embryo before fertilization to know the dangerous genes it contains.” It is not possible to scan an embryo before fertilization because then it will not be an embryo. I think you meant either after fertilization or before conception. I am a pre-medical student who is planning to pursue a career in fertility medicine, so I do not agree with your article in general, but your opinion is respectable.

My advice would be to have someone who can edit scientific reports/articles/ opinions assist you. Also, get more references to support your opinion such as scientific publications and experts in the field. For example, the professors’ references were good, but also consider the strong support of someone more in contact with the field such as medical doctors or obstetricians who possess a fellowship in fertility or researchers with a Ph.D. in genetics.

I hope this information helps you fix these issues.

Hope you are well,
Freyja Montiel Freyre


 

Response from editors

Dear Freyja Montiel Freyre,

About your first concern regarding the author of the editorial: Editorials reflect the opinion of all the editors in the staff so all the points made in the article are discussed by the editors before writing the article and then reviewed after being written. For this reason, we do not include the name of the author because all the editors are considered the authors of the editorial. Furthermore, the names of the editors are listed in page two of the newspaper along with the entire staff.

In the second statement regarding genes determining diseases we had in mind diseases that are within someone’s gene, but it does not physically present itself. Those persons are known as carriers.

For example, sickle cell anemia, as you said, is determined by genes, but there is not a 100 percent chance that an offspring of a carrier will develop the disease.

According to www.genome.gov, “People who only carry the sickle cell trait typically don’t get the disease, but can pass the defective gene on to their children.” The article also states the likelihood an offspring will develop sickle cell anemia if it inherits the defective gene from either parent or both. If both parents are carriers the chance increases to 25 percent that each child they have will be born with sickle cell.

On your third concern; embryos can be scanned when they undergo in vitro fertilization.

Dagan Wells, a Yale University geneticist, in the article, “Screening Embryos for Disease,” on www.npr.org said, said you can take a cell from an embryo without harming it and test the DNA to discover if a gene is carrying a particular disease. Once scanned, the embryo can be transferred to the woman’s womb. The process is called preimplantation genetic diagnosis.

The process does not guarantee a pregnancy, but it does guarantee that if a pregnancy does occur, the offspring will not be a carrier of the mutated gene.

Freyre, we, SJCC Times, appreciate and welcome your response and concerns. We would also like to thank you for your respectful response about the editorial and about our staff. With this article we hope we clarified our points on the editorial and any misunderstandings it could have caused.

We would like to invite you to stop by the newsroom in the Technology Building to thank you personally for your response and exchange point of views about the editorial.

Best regards,
Editorial Staff

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Letter to Editor and response: ‘Making perfect babies’