Some UK scientists arguing for embryonic gene modification in ‘morally acceptable’ circumstances

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A Hinxton Group report says editing the genetic code of early stage embryos is of “tremendous value” to research.

It adds although GM babies should not be allowed to be born at the moment, it may be “morally acceptable” under some circumstances in the future.

The US refuses to fund research involving the gene editing of embryos.

The global Hinxton Group met in response to the phenomenal advances taking place in the field of genetics.

A range of novel techniques combine a “molecular sat-nav” that travels to a precise location in our DNA with a pair of “molecular scissors” that cut it.

It has transformed research in a wide range of fields, but the progress means genetically modified babies are ceasing to be a prospect and fast becoming a possibility.

Embryo engineering dominates debate around these novel gene-editing tools.

But while disease-free children or “designer babies” may be on the horizon, the more immediate uses are far less controversial.

It could restore the reputation of the field of gene therapy in adults and children.

It was nearly a success in children with no immune system (known as bubble-boy syndrome). Symptoms improved, but the technique led to cancer in some cases.

These more accurate tools may be able to tweak our genetic code without the side-effects.

Read full, original post: GM embryos ‘essential’, says report

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