International Committee Cautiously Endorses DNA Editing of Unborn Babies

WASHINGTON — A international committee formed by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine has issued a stamp of approval—with caution—regarding the concept of editing the genomes or germlines of unborn babies in the embryo stage in order to treat or prevent diseases.

“Genome editing is a powerful new tool for making precise additions, deletions and alterations to the genome—an organism’s complete set of of genetic material,” the 300-page report released on Tuesday outlined.

The concept involves adjusting the DNA of unborn babies in the early development stage in instances where they are believed to likely inherit a disease or disability from their parents.

The committee, composed of over 20 global experts on genetics, bioethics and medicine, noted that “possibilities [of the practice] range from restoring normal function in diseased organs by editing somatic cells to preventing genetic diseases in future children and their descendants by editing the human germline.”

However, while the committee concluded that the idea held promise, it stated that a genome editing clinical trial “might be permitted, but only following much more research” and “only for compelling reasons and under strict oversight.” It also recommended that the practice be limited to treating and preventing diseases.

“The committee recommends that genome editing for purposes other than treatment or prevention of disease and disability should not proceed at this time, and that it is essential for … public discussions to precede any decisions about whether or how to pursue clinical trials of such applications,” it wrote.

Even with its words of caution, the committee’s statements are considered a departure from the mindset of most scientists and ethicists, who have questioned the ethics of tweaking embryonic germlines.

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Some have expressed concern that the practice could lead to the creation of “designer babies,” that is adjusting the DNA of the child to create desired traits, such as blue eyes, blond hair, and superb strength and intelligence.

Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society in Berkeley, California told Science Magazine, “We’re very disappointed with the report. It’s really a pretty dramatic shift from the existing and widespread agreement globally that human germline editing should be prohibited.”

“This opens the door to advertisements from fertility clinics of giving your child the best start in life with a gene-editing packet,” she also outlined to the New York Times. “And whether these are real advantages or perceived advantages, they would accrue disproportionately to people who are already advantaged.”

While genome editing, also known as CRISPR/Cas9, may be allowed in foreign nations, in 2015, Congress passed a law that bans the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from using federal funds for “research in which a human embryo is intentionally created or modified to include a heritable genetic modification.”

Any such offerings elsewhere, though, are believed to be far down the line, as stated by bioethicist R. Alta Charo, a co-chair on the committee: “It is not ready now, but it might be safe enough to try in the future. And if certain conditions are met, it might be permissible to try it.”


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  • Nidalap

    Hubris…

    • Amos Moses

      Gesundheit ……….. just kidding ……….

  • antifasciste

    Aldous Huxley spinning in his grave.

  • Governmental Deception

    Anyone with a brain knows when you start playing God, unheard of disease come from bs like this along with numerous other issues. They are destroying humanity as we know it. They always sell it as how great and grand it is. The only ones who think it’s so great are the trendy liberal brain deads whose higher self left them a long time ago. These brain dead scientist know this but the greed to their curiosity means more.

  • cadcoke5

    I don’t expect to hear ethical concerns over simply fixing broken genetics. It might even be preferable to the genetic eugenics program as it is now. Heal them rather than kill those who test positive for Downs, etc.

    But, the path to understanding how to do that, is already being paved with MANY more unborn children subject to experiment, than who might potentially be healed. Then, if they survive the initial process, they will be killed. Both China and Britain have already approved such research.

    I suspect the number of eugenics victims will soon surpass those from the Nazi era. I suspect the number of victims for medical experimentation may have already been surpassed. The reason is that is is much faster and easier to get pre-born kids in mass, than those who have been born.

    The medical tradition of Germany’s Mengel, and Japan’s Shirō Ishii, continues.

  • Is this the same National Academy of Sciences that passionately endorsed evolution and denounced the teaching of creation? How did these godless propagandists become moral arbiters?

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Why can’t a man and a woman just love each other and get married and conceive children naturally or adopt orphans? Mankind should not do gene editing, but they can’t edit a soul anyway. If humanity cross the line, Jesus will come back and crush them and establish His Kingdom. The Lord Himself sets the boundary.