Will Human Genome Editing Be Allowed in the Future?

A new report has outlined the criteria that would enable human genome editing to be allowed in the future. This would only be permitted for the most serious conditions and would require stringent criteria to be met.

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The report was published by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine and suggests that the addition, removal or replacement of DNA base pairs within early embryos or gametes could become a possibility to prevent or treat certain disabilities or diseases.

The Use of Human Genome Editing

The idea of genome editing is not revolutionary and research has been conducted for some time, but more advanced and less expensive tools are now available, including CRISPR/Cas9. This has enabled new applications to be discovered, such as the use of genome editing for non-heritable and heritable conditions.

Within basic research applications human genome editing is used widely and is already in the development stage for use in clinical treatments concerning non-heritable cells.

Trials using highly experienced clinical staffing resources, such as the professionals available through http://www.gandlscientific.com/clinical-staffing-solutions/, will continue to be used for the prevention and treatment of certain disabilities and diseases. These treatments don’t have any impact on the embryo and are undertaken using the current regulations and ethical standards for gene therapy development.

Public Opinion

The further advancement of human genome editing will in part be related to public opinion, which is still divided on the benefits and ethics of the treatment. There is particular concern about the use of genome treatments in order to enhance specific features or traits, including physical characteristics.

However, where the public have been educated about the benefits of using human genome editing in the correct manner, more people are in favour of its development.

According to research carried out by STAT and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 41% of those who had heard or read about the concept believed it should be approved for use on embryos for serious conditions; whereas amongst ordinary members of the public 65% think it should be illegal.

The recommendations of the report are that editing genomes for enhancement purposes should not be approved yet and that discussions with the general public are required before clinical trials can take place for any reason, apart from the prevention and treatment of disabilities and disease.