During the still ongoing discussions of genetic modification in the human germ line and potentially in actual human beings in the future, an interesting, but difficult question has emerged:
What words or names would be most appropriate for the community to use to refer to potential future human beings that have gene edits?
I have up until now referred to such hypothetical people as “genetically modified humans” or “GM humans” for short.
To me this terminology seems most accurate.
Keep in mind that people bearing gene edits don’t exist and in principle may never come into being, although I think the odds are increasing that this might happen.
It is also worth noting that nearly everyone who has weighed in on the potential production of humans with germline gene edits has been opposed to it.
Why is this issue of what to call modified humans important if we are only talking about a hypothetical case scenario that might never become reality?
Even if we are just talking about potential future people who might have gene edits, we need words right now to accurately refer to them during discussions of human germ line gene editing/genetic modification. Such discussions are urgently needed at this time given evolving biotechnology and part of the agenda for dialogue needs to include what happens if (again for lack of a better term currently) GM people are produced.
Read full original article: Is ‘GM human’ a loaded name?