Erika Check Hayden
Originally posted 23 February 2016
Here is an excerpt:
But emerging technologies are already testing the margins of what people deem acceptable. Parents today have unprecedented control over what they pass on to their children: they can use prenatal genetic screening to check for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, and choose whether or not to carry a fetus to term. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis allows couples undergoing in vitro fertilization to select embryos that do not have certain disease-causing mutations. Even altering the heritable genome — as might be done if CRISPR were used to edit embryos — is acceptable to some. Mitochondrial replacement therapy, which replaces a very small number of genes that a mother passes on with those from a donor, was approved last year in the United Kingdom for people who are at risk of certain genetic disorders.
Many safety, technical and legal barriers still stand in the way of editing DNA in human embryos. But some scientists and ethicists say that it is important to think through the implications of embryo editing now — before these practical hurdles are overcome. What sort of world would these procedures create for those currently living with disease and for future generations?
The article is here.