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About Medical Gene Transfer


Sometimes called "gene therapy," medical gene transfer involves adding or modifying genes in a person's cells (other than those found in his or her sperm or eggs). The "new" genes are intended to function in ways that would alleviate a medical condition. They would not be passed on to any future generations.


Arguments Pro & Con

Gene transfer may eventually become an effective treatment for some important medical conditions. Clinical trials have been underway since 1990, but so far have been mostly unsuccessful, involved several conflict-of-interest scandals, and produced adverse results including deaths.

Gene transfer has also been proposed for "enhancement" purposes. This application could raise troubling social and ethical questions.



Our Focus on the Future Present by Jacob CornInnovative Genomics Initiative blogJuly 6th, 2015At this time, the Innovative Genomics Initiative Lab will not do research on human germline editing for the following several reasons.
Genetically Modified Humans? Seven Reasons to Say “No”by Center for Genetics and SocietyCrossing the threshold into inheritable human genetic alterations has long been considered dangerously unacceptable for both safety and social reasons.
Editing Of Human Embryo Genes Raises Ethics Questionsby Britt E. EricksonChemical & Engineering NewsJune 29th, 2015With the promise of gene-editing tools come worries that the technology could be used to create designer babies with enhanced traits, such as higher intelligence or greater beauty.
The Promise and Peril of Crisprby John Lauerman and Caroline ChenBloomberg BusinessweekJune 25th, 2015The "cheap gene-editing method could lead to cures — and frankenbabies."
US Congress Moves to Block Human-Embryo Editingby Sara ReardonNature NewsJune 25th, 2015The House appropriations committee has approved a spending bill that would prohibit the FDA from spending money to evaluate research or clinical applications on gene editing on human embryos.
CRISPR: Move Beyond Differencesby Charis ThompsonNature CommentJune 24th, 2015Researchers and ethicists need to see past what can seem to be gendered debates when it comes to the governance of biotechnology.
CRISPR: Science Can't Solve itby Daniel SarewitzNature CommentJune 23rd, 2015Democratically weighing up the benefits and risks of gene editing and artificial intelligence is a political endeavour, not an academic one.
"Jurassic World" and the Dinosaurs at the USDAby Rachel SmolkerTruthoutJune 22nd, 2015The regulations of the US Department of Agriculture are in desperate need of an overhaul if they are to protect the public from the derailing of billions of years of evolution for the purpose of corporate profit-making.
Manipulating the Genome of Human Embryos: Some Unforeseen Effectsby Craig HoldregeThe Nature InstituteJune 22nd, 2015Over and beyond technical issues is the pressing ethical concern: should researchers cross the line into genetically manipulating human embryos?
California Stem Cell Agency Symposium: 'Vague Fears' vs. Potential Genetic Alteration of Human Race[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJune 11th, 2015California’s $3 billion stem cell agency has called a high-level meeting for next fall to examine a "red-hot" issue that many researchers say could lead to alteration of the human race.
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