Solution may soon be found for rare genetic diseases

Little Charlie Gard has passed away.

The 11-month-old British child, center of an international controversy for weeks, was moved to a hospice, where doctors planned to turn off life-support equipment.

What if Charlie’s life could have been saved before he was born?

Within a few years, it may be possible to save children like Charlie, born with a rare genetic disease.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have revealed they were successful in “editing” genes in human embryos. The embryos were not allowed to develop for more than a few days. That itself raises ethical questions.

Even more troubling issues will come up if gene “editing” research proceeds.

It could allow doctors to detect and correct genetic conditions that threaten health. But it also could lead to requests for “designer babies” with specific physical traits.

If that service is made possible, be assured it will be offered and sought by some people.

Clearly, though, the research should be pursued in an ethical manner. If you question that, picture in your mind little Charlie Gard.