(The Guardian) — The question could hardly be more profound. Having stumbled upon a simple means to make precise changes to the code of life, should humans take control of their genetic fate, and rewrite the DNA of future generations?
Once an idea explored only in fiction, the prospect is now a real one. The inexorable rise of gene editing has put the technology in labs across the globe. The first experiments on human embryos have been done, in a bid to correct faulty genes that cause disease.
To thrash out an answer, or at least find common ground, an international group of experts will descend on Washington DC next week for a three day summit. Convened with some urgency by the US, UK and Chinese national academies, the meeting is billed as a “global discussion.” It is a chance to take stock of a revolutionary technology that has the power to do good, and the potential to wreak havoc.