Published: Fri, July 20, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

United Kingdom’s ethics council gives approval to genetically modified babies

United Kingdom’s ethics council gives approval to genetically modified babies

Yeung, a professor of law, ethics, and informatics at the University of Birmingham, told The Guardian that the Nuffield working group saw no issues for now with proper rules that would make such medical work unscrupulous.

There are grave moral concerns about messing with God's creations and setting up a society of genetic "haves" and "have-nots".

An independent ethics panel in the United Kingdom has concluded that genome editing to influence the characteristics of a future person could be "morally permissible".

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".

Even though the report called for additional research before any laws could be changed, it drew swift criticism from others, including one lobbying group accusing the authors of opening the door to the unrestricted use of heritable genetic engineering, The Guardian said.

Heritable genome editing involves making targeted changes to the genome of embryo, sperm or egg cells, resulting in alterations which can be transmitted stably through generations.

Yeung acknowledged to the BBC that the implications of genome editing for society are "extensive, profound and long-term".

According to the Nuffield Council, scientists now know of more than 4,000 inherited single-gene conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, that affect around 1 percent of births worldwide.

"We must have an worldwide ban on creating genetically engineered babies", he said in an emailed statement. Critics, however, say it would pave the way for "designer babies".

He added: "The people of Britain decided 15 years ago that they don't want GM food". The DNA that gets damaged while the procedure is being conducted could later pass on to future generations as well.

It recommends that two overarching principles should be adhered to when considering use of heritable genome editing interventions in order for them be ethically acceptable: they must be meant to secure the welfare of the future person; and they should not increase disadvantage, discrimination or division in society. Research published this week in Nature Biotechnology showed how one of these techniques known as CRISPR can damage DNA unrelated to the gene editing.

English the Nuffield Council considers that edit DNA is acceptable, if such operations are to be done in the interests of the child.

Even once legalised, the Council have recommended genome editing should only be licensed on a case-by-case basis and under strict regulation and monitoring.

Like this: