GLP’s Jon Entine: Rules on human germline gene editing must be flexible to encourage innovation

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[Editor’s note: Marcy Darnovsky is the executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society. Jon Entine is the executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project.]

Host Sushmita Paathak: Some genetic conditions like Down syndrome can be detected through prenatal testing. But what if you could “fix” the condition in utero? …In the future, technology might allow scientists to edit the genes to prevent serious genetic conditions even before the baby is born.

Marcy Darnovsky: It would very likely wind up, we’re afraid, being used for purposes of so-called enhancement.

Host: Enhancements like blue-eyes or an athletic build….so-called designer babies. And Darnovsky says wealthy people who’d be able to afford the technology could use it to become genetically superior.

Darnovsky: I think what we need in this world is less social inequality not more.

Jon Entine: We want to set up a flexible enough system to encourage innovation but also to allow us to put on the brakes when necessary. This I think is putting on the brakes even before the train is out of the station.

The reality of it is that if you try to squelch innovation here in the United States through regulation, it’s just going to happen in places that have far less ethical constraints than are in place in the United States.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Gene Editing Techniques Give Hope to Parents–and Raise Ethical Questions