Germany allows testing of embryos

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dna reuters Reuters The university also says that there are founder mutations in the BRCA1 and two genes of most Afrikaner and Ashkenazi Jewish patients with familial breast cancer in South Africa, meaning that a faulty gene occurs at a higher-than-normal rate in affected individuals from these populations due to a communal ancestor carrying the original mutant gene.

Berlin - Germany finally cleared the path for the genetic testing of embryos recently, a procedure which has attracted criticism from religious leaders and disabled rights activists over fears of creating “designer babies.”

The procedure, known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), allows parents with serious hereditary diseases to test embryos for genetic defects before implantation into the womb.

Germany originally approved a bill in July 2011 which would have allowed limited testing. But when the law came into force in December of that year, the legislative framework for carrying out the procedure was lacking.

Legislation put forward by Health Minister Daniel Bahr to rectify this was approved by the vote in the Bundesrat, or upper house of parliament.

“We've waited a long time for this, now it's finally there,” said parliamentarian Ulrike Flach, who put forward the law in 2011.

The tests, which are only available to parents with serious hereditary diseases, are aimed at helping prevent miscarriages or stillbirths.

The original debate in 2011 had stirred deep emotions in a country which systematically killed disabled people during the Nazi period. - Sapa-dpa

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