Viewpoint: We need a conversation about gene editing and eugenics

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[Editor’s note: Karin Christiansen is head of research at the Centre for Health Technology at the Faculty of Health, VIA University College in Denmark.]

Genome editing has been largely applied to animals and plants, but it now includes people. Who will decide what the technology will be used for and how far we should take it?

[I]n 2016, The Danish Council on Ethics released a report entitled ‘Opinion on genetic modification of future people.’ That same year, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in the UK released a similar review: ‘Genome editing: an ethical review.” And this year, the American National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Medicine followed suit with their report entitled ‘Human genome editing—science, ethics and governance.’

The US report is criticised for not taking a firm position on anything other than the ‘usual’ ethical questions concerning the distinction between treatment and enhancements and between normal functioning and disease.

Some critics worry about a possible future scenario, where the sick and the vulnerable are no longer guaranteed a minimum degree of medical and societal care and support from the state – and where only the genetically ‘fittest’ have a chance of ‘survival’ in our market-driven society. This is why we need to have the discussion now to decide what type of society we want for ourselves and for our children.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Genome editing: Are we opening a back door to eugenics?

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