As Technology Gets Better, Ethical Prohibitions on Genetically Modifying Human Embryos are Getting Weaker

“After Asilomar [a 1975 conference to discuss limitations on genetic engineering], the worst fears about genetic engineering did not come true. Biologists did not accidentally unleash a plague of genetically engineered pathogens. Just seven years after the conference, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug made with genetic engineering: bacterially produced human insulin, which revolutionized the treatment of diabetes. And most of the major biomedical advances since the 1970s would not have been possible without the tools of genetic engineering, which are now used routinely in thousands of research labs. The odds are that human germline editing will develop similarly, having some value as both a research tool and as therapy. And as with genetic engineering, it's become too late to ask whether or not we should edit the human germline; we can now only ask how the experiments will proceed.” (Michael White, The Pacific Standard)

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