Gene Therapy: Ethical Issues - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Genetics

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 6 pages of information about Gene Therapy.
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Germ Line Versus Somatic Cell Gene Therapy

Virtually all cells in the human body contain genes, making them potential targets for gene therapy. However, these cells can be divided into two major categories: germ line cells (which include sperm and eggs) and somatic cells. There are fundamental differences between these cell types, and these differences have profound ethical implications.

Gene therapy using germ line cells results in permanent changes that are passed down to subsequent generations. If done early in embryologic development, such as during preimplantation diagnosis and in vitro fertilization, the gene transfer could also occur in all cells of the developing embryo. The appeal of germ line gene therapy is its potential for offering a permanent therapeutic effect for all who inherit the target gene. Successful germ line therapies introduce the possibility of eliminating some diseases from a particular family, and ultimately from the...

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This section contains 1,645 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Gene Therapy: Ethical Issues Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan Science Library: Genetics
Gene Therapy: Ethical Issues from Macmillan Science Library: Genetics. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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