Proposed ban on human genetic engineering

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The proposed international ban on human genetic engineering was raised most recently at the International Summit on Human Gene Editing in Washington DC.[1][2]

Proposal

At the event, 150 scientists, campaigners and health experts called for the ban. Reasons included concerns about designer babies, inequality and genetic discrimination.

Permitting germline intervention for any intended purpose would open the door to an era of high-tech consumer eugenics in which affluent parents seek to choose socially preferred qualities for their children.

The implementation of heritable human genetic modification could irrevocably alter the nature of the human species and society.

Experiments could lead to miscarriage, maternal injury and stillbirth. Genetically modified children who seem healthy at birth could develop serious problems later in life. We must not engineer the genes we pass on to our descendants.

Opponents of the ban point out that such a ban would simply drive the practice underground and prevent important research.

To think that there is not already a cadre of IVF clinicians poised to engage in such practices, perhaps even supported by governments, is to ignore, for example, the history of doping in sport

Outcome

Following the conference, no such ban was enacted, however discussion about regulatory frameworks was recommended.[3]

Follow up

There continues to be calls form the likes of the US government National Institutes of Health's head, Francis Collins who objects on religious, ethical and equality grounds.[4]

See also

References