Manipulating Human Genes

Post date: Sep 20, 2020 10:30:2 PM

Recent news from China announcing the births of the first genetically modified babies has shocked scientists worldwide and intensified a long-simmering debate about whether genetic changes that are passed down to succeeding generations of humans — so-called germline editing — should be permissible. Some predict a dystopian future with a superior human species boasting “designer” traits such as exceptionally high IQ or extraordinary athletic ability — most likely available only to wealthy parents who can afford the technology. But many prominent scientists argue that making changes at the embryonic stage may be the only hope for certain parents carrying a genetic disease to bear a healthy child. Twenty-nine countries, including the United States, forbid the use of germline editing to produce genetically modified children. Some activists and ethicists want a permanent worldwide ban on genetic manipulation of human embryos, while others say germline research should proceed carefully. Still others have called for a moratorium during which the issue can be thoroughly debated and rules established.Glazer, S. (2019, April 26). Manipulating human genes. CQ Researcher, 29, 1-59.