So I read an article about a metabolic disease being treated with gene therapy, where they inserted corrective dna into the patient. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/dna-permanent-change-cure-disease-experiment-california-brain-madeux-iv-hunter-syndrome-a8055696.html

How can this be permanent though? Wouldn't the other cells "take over" these modified cells when they reproduce, and eventually have back the same old dna?

Furthermore, will this affect offspring in any way? Will they inherit the new dna changes (if that part of the dna is passed on from the parent with the changed dna)?


1 Answer 1


It seems this therapy is targeted to liver cells. Cells that are affected will continue to express the inserted gene as long as they last, and any dividing cells will spread it to their daughter cells.

Genetic information is passed on to the next generation through germline cells: eggs and sperm. There won't be any effect on the next generation unless these cells or the cells that give rise to them have the inserted gene.

  • $\begingroup$ But what if, say, only half of the liver cells get the new dna, and the other half still have the old dna? Won't they kind of "battle it out" and one of them will take over? $\endgroup$
    – user62354
    Oct 19, 2020 at 14:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @user62354 Why do you think they would "battle"? $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 19, 2020 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't they try to take up more space because of cell division? One cell becomes two, etc.? $\endgroup$
    – user62354
    Oct 19, 2020 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ If that were happening it would be called cancer. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 19, 2020 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ I see, thanks for the input $\endgroup$
    – user62354
    Oct 19, 2020 at 14:48

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