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The genetic engineering of humans has great potential to help those destined to inherit serious, incurable diseases, according to one of Britain’s most prominent scientists, who says the risks and benefits should be debated by society.
The invention of powerful new genome editing tools means researchers can now make precise changes to genetic material, and so consider correcting faulty DNA in human sperm, eggs and embryos.
While the procedure may prevent children from being born with serious disorders, the practice – known as “germline therapy” – is banned in Britain and many other countries, because the genetic changes would be passed down to future generations and the risks are largely unknown.
“There is great potential in germline therapy. There are clearly diseases that you could help by editing the germline,” said Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, who won the Nobel prize in chemistry in 2009 and became president of the Royal Society in December. “This is a case of a new technology where there are significant potential benefits, but also significant ethical implications.”
Read full, original post: Genetic engineering of humans has great potential, says Nobel winner