The ethics of creating genetically modified children using genome editing

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To review the recent ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding human reproduction involving germline genome editing.

Recent findings

Genome editing techniques, such as CRISPR/Cas9, have facilitated genetic modification in human embryos. The most likely purpose of germline genome editing is the prevention of serious genetic disease in offspring. However, complex issues still remain, including irremediable risks to fetuses and future generations, the role of women, the availability of alternatives, long-term follow-up, health insurance coverage, misuse for human enhancement, and the potential effects on adoption. Further discussions, a broad consensus, and appropriate regulations are required before human germline genome editing is introduced into the global society.

Summary

Before germline genome editing is used for disease prevention, a broad consensus must be formed by carefully discussing its ethical, legal, and social issues.

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