This morning, I was reading about Darwin’s Theory of evolution. Even in the 1800’s people knew that the world we live in is ever-changing. While you may not see it on a daily basis, evolution is constantly taking place. I relate to this from a reproductive and molecular level and offer my thoughts on the BioNews article which stirs up questions about the readiness of and application of 3-Parent IVF.
In developing a cure for Mitochondrial Disease and the means to extend a woman’s natural fertility, we come face to face with Darwinism and the body’s natural ability to evolve to survive. I’m not suggesting that we can force evolution, but a track record of impossible occurrences gives hope to circumventing some medical hurdles. Deep sea creatures have evolved to withstand tremendous pressures that even our technology cannot overcome. Animals developed fur coats to endure the coldest climates on Earth. Even the human body has evolved in remarkable ways, developing cellular powerhouses called Mitochondria that serve as the power plants of life.
And in line with evolution, change is not always for the better. Chromosomal mutations may, in the long term, be the foundation of a profound change in humanity. But in the short term, we see some “dead-end” mutations that are dangerous to development. So our task, it seems, is to support evolution, by calling out these dead ends, thus minimizing the time trial-and-error will take. To put DNA back together in a predictably healthy way, could mean the end of many diseases and ailments that hold humanity back.
Yes, this is controversial conversation. This isn’t DNA recombination however, it’s akin to DNA washing, for a very specific particle of debris. And if we are successful, what then? If there is a cure for what was once considered an infant’s death sentence, should it not be explored regardless of the controversies? Galileo was branded a traitor, a heretic, and imprisoned for his studies that showed Earth might not be the center of the Universe.
In the end, it isn’t my position to debate ethics or controversies of application. The pure science that drives such studies is, at it’s very core, essential to our growth as a species. Looking back at all revolutionary ideas, they have all been squashed by the current systems. The inventors of IVF were asked to leave their educational institutions in 1978 and continue their studies under private funding. Today, many universities have medical programs dedicated to IVF training and IVF is considered a standardized treatment for infertility, one of the fastest growing medical industries in the world. If we can prove success with our treatments, imagine what developments we could see in the next 40 years!