Genetically altered babies born

May 5, 2001 | Source: BBC News

The first genetically altered humans have been born and are healthy. The children were born following a technique called ooplasmic transfer, which involves taking some of the contents of the donor cell and injecting it into the egg cell of a woman with infertility problems.

Up to 30 such children have been born, 15 of them as a result of one experimental programme at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St Barnabas in New Jersey.

The additional genes that the children carry have altered their germline — the collection of genes that they will pass on to their offspring. The technique has been criticised as unethical by some scientists and would be illegal in many countries.