• Germany's news in English

First German DNA screen baby born healthy

The Local · 29 Jan 2012, 11:40

Published: 29 Jan 2012 11:40 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“She is bright-eyed and totally healthy,” said Klaus Diedrich, from the University Hospital, Schleswig Holstein in Lübeck, where the baby was born.

Her parents both carry genes which can lead to Desbuquois syndrome, a skeletal deformation which generally leads to babies dying either in the womb or shortly after birth. The couple had already had three still-births, the hospital said in a statement.

The pre-implantation diagnosis (PID) is a technique by which embryos, created in-vitro, are examined genetically to check for certain defects. PID is conducted when there is a high risk of a monogenetic illness – something caused by a defect on a single gene.

Only those embryos shown to be clear of such defects are implanted into the mother. The technique has only been allowed in Germany since last July and is tightly controlled – politicians were divided over whether to permit it, due to fears over eugenics, as well as Catholic-based objections.

The Local/hc

Story continues below…

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

13:15 January 29, 2012 by narfmaster
Finally! You would have thought that in a country of socialized medicine this would have been allowed a long time ago. It's the choice between having people who are born with genetic diseases needing lifelong (state sponsored) treatment and more people born disease free, paying into the system. Less human suffering, lower health care costs for everyone. What's so wrong about that?
22:51 January 29, 2012 by brokenladder
It's a complex issue. My fiance has Marfan syndrome, caused by a mutation on the Fibrillin-1 gene. It makes her very tall and thin (she's 5'11" whereas her sisters are about 5'4"), but it also required her to have open-heart surgery to replace a section of her ascending aorta with a Dacron tube.

We plan to either do in-vitro, or the cheaper route of just conceiving naturally and then aborting if an amniocentesis reveals that the embryo has the gene (it's a 50/50 chance). Because humans no longer have natural selection weeding out genes for these defects, or bad vision, teeth, etc., we are going to start to see people with more and more abnormalities which require treatment with advanced drugs and/or surgeries or other treatments. Obviously it's not ethical to do "eugenics". So what ethical solution is there?

It seems that genetic screening, and even repair using recombinant DNA, is really the only answer. It does have some scary repercussions. And in the hands of government bureaucracy, who knows what could happen. But the alternative is probably a lot worse.

I think we have to hope that representative democracy curbs the dangerous excesses that could come if genetic technology is abused.
03:00 January 30, 2012 by vonSchwerin
This should be a no-brainer. It would be far better to have couples do PID and have a healthy pregnancy from the start than have couples conceive, discover via ultrasound that the fetus has problems, and then have an abortion.

And two or four cells are not a person. They have the potential to become a person, but discarding/selecting cells should not be compared to infanticide or anything like that.
12:28 February 4, 2012 by dwight99
This is wonderful. No more Stephen Hawkings freaks. After testing for obvious defects, can the fetuses be screened for blue eyes and blond hair?
17:50 February 21, 2012 by murka

I agree this is a complex issue and there is no simple answer. For instance if screened as an embryo, your fiance would not be there today.

However, controlled birth replaces birth control, i.e. no baby born at all.
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd