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About Inheritable Genetic Modification

The Basic Science

Human Germline Gene Editing

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3-Person IVF

Inheritable genetic modification (IGM, also called germline engineering) means changing the genes passed on to future generations. The genetic changes would be made in eggs, sperm or early embryos; modified genes would appear not only in the person who developed from that gamete or embryo, but also in all succeeding generations. IGM has not been tried in humans. It would be by far the most consequential type of genetic modification as it would open the door to irreversibly altering the human species.

Proposals for inheritable genetic modification in humans combine techniques involving in vitro fertilization (IVF), gene transfer, stem cells and research cloning.

Extreme Genetic Engineering and the Human FutureReclaiming Emerging Biotechnologies for the Common GoodThe Center for Genetics and Society and Friends of the Earth examine the human applications of synthetic biology. This 50-page report challenges claims that this new set of genetic engineering techniques should be seen as "the future of manufacturing, engineering and medicine."
Center for Genetics and Society releases open letter and report calling for prohibitions on human germline engineering[Press Release]November 29th, 2015Scholars, health practitioners, scientists, public interest advocates, and others have signed a CGS-organized open letter calling for strengthened prohibitions against heritable human genetic modification.
First CRISPR Gene Drive in Mosquitoes Aims to Eradicate Malariaby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewNovember 23rd, 2015Designers of a “selfish” gene able to spread among mosquitoes say it could wipe out malaria, but the scientific community is at odds over whether or not we should do it.
Open Letter Calls for Prohibition on Reproductive Human Germline Modificationby Center for Genetics and SocietyExperiments aimed at creating genetically modified humans are unneeded from a medical view, extremely risky to any resulting children, and profoundly dangerous from a social perspective. Now is the crucial moment for taking a clear public stand.
F.D.A. Takes Issue With the Term ‘Non-G.M.O.’by Stephanie StromThe New York TimesNovember 20th, 2015In addition to balking at "organisms," the FDA argues an industry-serving definition of “genetic modification,” comparing thousands of years of breeding techniques to extremely modern synthetic biology tools.
Scientists may soon be able to 'cut and paste' DNA to cure deadly diseases and design perfect babiesby Tanya LewisBusiness InsiderNovember 19th, 2015CRISPR gene editing tools are being proposed for a wide range of uses, many of which pose risks to ecological systems and human society.
CRISPR Gene Editing: Proofreaders and Undo Buttons, but Ever "Safe" Enough?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesNovember 19th, 2015Recent trends include research reports of "spellcheck" and "undo" functions associated with CRISPR gene editing, and a shift toward greater caution about germline applications.
Gene Therapy: Comeback? Cost-Prohibitive?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesNovember 19th, 2015Recent CRISPR news sometimes confuses germline modification - which should be put off limits - and gene therapy, which presents its own set of social and ethical risks to resolve before rushing to market.
Gene Manipulation In Human Embryos Provokes Ethical Questions: This controversial new research could have some serious, long-term societal implications. [Video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]
Gene Manipulation In Human Embryos Provokes Ethical Questions[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rahel GebreyesHuffPost LiveNovember 17th, 2015CGS's Marcy Darnovsky discusses the social implications of leveraging CRISPR gene editing tools to pursue enhanced children.
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