Uk: Editing human embryos ‘morally permissible’

Uk: Editing human embryos 'morally permissible'
Uk: Editing human embryos 'morally permissible'

An inquiry into the ethical issues surrounding genetically altering a human embryo has found there is “no absolute reason not to pursue it”. But appropriate measures must be put in place before it becomes UK law, said the report – which calls for further research both medically and socially. Inquiry chair, Prof Karen Yeung, said: “The implications for society are extensive, profound and long-term.” The use of genome editing in embryos for assisted reproduction in humans is currently prohibited by UK law, but is permitted in some research. Scientists can do gene editing on discarded IVF embryos, as long as they are destroyed immediately afterwards, for example. Heritable genome editing could be used to wipe out genetic diseases in certain families by deleting or permanently changing any troublesome code in embryos, or the sperm and egg.  But the field is attracting controversy over concerns it is opening the door to designer babies.  Commenting on the Nuffield Council of Bioethics’ review of genome editing, Dr David King, Director of Human Genetics Alert, said: “This is an absolute disgrace. We have had international bans on eugenic genetic engineering for 30 years. But this group of scientists thinks it knows better, even though there is absolutely no medical benefit to this whatever. The Nuffield Council doesn’t even bother to say no to outright designer babies. The people of Britain decided 15 years ago that they don’t want GM food. Do you suppose they want GM babies?” The independent inquiry by the Nuffield Council concludes that any invention should be guided by two key principles:

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