The Public Should Have a Say in Allowing Modification of Our Germline Genetic Code

February 17, 2017

(Scientific American) – The report suggests limitations on genetic engineering to the heritable “germline” code of embryos, or even earlier upstream in the process, sperm and ovum, which convey information passed on to subsequent generations. However, the report appears to exclude the public from participation and concludes that “clinical trials using heritable germline genome editing should be permitted.” They should not—not without public discussion and a more conscious evaluation of how this impacts social standing, stigma and identity, ethics that scientists often tend to cite pro forma and then swiftly scuttle.

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