Should embryonic gene modification be allowed to proceed under close surveillance?

| | September 14, 2015
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Editing human embryos’ DNA has long been seen as an ethical red line. Without proper oversight, the science could create designer babies and eugenics horror stories.

But the Hinxton group, an international network of stem cell researchers, bioethicists and policy experts, has joined calls for a debate on the subject. In a statement, the group said that genetically modifying human embryos is of “tremendous value” to research.

The Hinxton group added that, though it did not currently support allowing GM embryos to be born, there could be “morally acceptable uses of this technology in human reproduction”.

Legislation is not universal, and recently scientists in China published the world’s first scientific paper on altering the DNA of human embryos. Robin Lovell-Badge, a member of the Hinxton Group and scientist at the Francis Crick Institute, tells Quartz that the West should not “shut the door” to genetically modified embryos. “By doing that, you make people who are doing stuff that’s relevant, do so behind closed doors,” he says.

Genetic modification of embryos could lead to several health benefits in the long run. It could improve IVF treatment, correct genetic defects such as Huntington’s Disease, and create humans with in-built resistance to certain diseases.

Read full, original post: Scientists want to rethink bans on tinkering with human embryo DNA

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