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A group of international scientists have today called for a worldwide ban on editing genes to make 'designer babies'.
The suggestion comes after a Chinese scientist caused global controversy by altering the embryos of twins to make them immune to HIV.
Researchers - Ban - DNA - Living - Humans
Researchers now want a ban on editing the DNA of living humans because they say there's a need to slow down the 'most adventurous plans to re-engineer the human species'.
Experts in the field are divided – some have come out in support, while others called the ban 'neither necessary nor useful' and said it could interrupt important work.
Comment - Experts - US - Canada - Germany
In a comment published by experts from the US, Canada and Germany in the journal Nature today, the group of experts called for the temporary ban.
They want an international set of standards to be created to control how germline editing – the changing of DNA in sperm, eggs or embryos – is used.
DNA - Research - Purposes - Labs - Countries
Editing DNA for research purposes in labs would still be permitted, and countries would ultimately still be able to decide what their own scientists do.
'Although techniques have improved in the past several years, germline editing is not yet safe or effective enough to justify any use in the clinic,' they wrote.
Agreement - Community - Germline - Editing - Risk
'There is wide agreement in the scientific community that, for clinical germline editing, the risk of failing to make the desired change or of introducing unintended mutations (off-target effects) is still unacceptably high.'
Gene-editing is a process in which scientists can add, remove or change sections of DNA which ultimately affect how an organism is formed.
Genes - Sections - DNA - Work - Blueprints
Genes are sections of DNA which work as blueprints for the body and essentially programme cells to tell them what to do.
In humans, editing them could one day mean manipulating DNA to instruct the body to produce a certain hair or eye colour, or changing...
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