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Scientists Announce Birth of Genetically Modified Babies

Some contain genes from 3 different people

Using a technique to treat a rare form of infertility, scientists from New Jersey say they've produced the world's first genetically modified babies.

As many as 30 babies have been born this way in the past few years, 15 of them at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., according to this story from CNN.

The technique involves extracting genetic material from egg cells donated by a fertile woman. This material is then injected into the egg cells of a woman struggling with infertility, allowing her to become fertile, according to this report from ABC News.

The researchers call their efforts "the first case of human-genetic modification resulting in normal healthy children."

The oldest turns 4 years old in a month, says the institute's scientific director, Dr. Jacques Cohen.

The institute was the first to use the technique but another 15 babies have been born after use of the technique at other facilities, he says.

The announcement of the births has met with criticism in some scientific circles.

"This news should gladden all who welcome new children into the world. And it should trouble those committed to transparent public conversation about the prospect of using 'reprogenetic' technologies to shape future children," Erik Parens, of The Hastings Center in Garrison, N.Y., and Eric Juengst, of Cleveland's Center for Biomedical Ethics at Case Western Reserve University, write in the journal Science, according to CNN.

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