The Ethics of Heritable Genome Editing image

JAMA, December 3, 2018
Eli Y. Adashi and I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)


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From the article: 

Editing the genome of human gametes or embryos is a disruptive unactualized technology and continues to be the subject of a wide range of concerns. The chief concern is the safety and efficacy of such an intervention and the unintended errors that it might cause for future generations through the modified germline (ie, the gametes through which the genome is passed on to future generations). Additional concerns revolve around the equity of access to these innovative interventions. The benefits of heritable genome editing should not preferentially accrue only to affluent individuals. A separate set of objections, often framed in religious terms, focuses on the sanctity of human life, the dignity of procreation, the hubris of human intervention, and the usurpation of divine power. Additional concerns include the threat to disability rights (eg, deaf culture), the prospect of state-sanctioned eugenics, the cascading generational effects, and the rights of potential progeny whose consent can not be sought. Heritable genome editing has also been implicated in constraining genetic diversity while perpetuating conformity and homogeneity. The unforeseen costs of successful enhancement have also been raised as a potential concern.

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bioethics biotechnology enhancement genetics health law policy human subjects research i. glenn cohen regulation