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A panel of government-appointed experts in Germany agreed unanimously that the human germline — DNA that is inherited by children from their parents — “is not inviolable,” rejecting one objection to using genome editing technologies such as CRISPR to make heritable changes in the DNA of human embryos, sperm, or eggs.

In a 47-page report made public on Monday, the independent German Ethics Council concluded that the power of CRISPR, and the announcement last November that a scientist in China had used it to edit two IVF embryos that resulted in the birth of twin girls, means that “the possibility of intervening more easily and precisely in the human germline is drawing closer and closer.”

Although the council’s 26 ethicists, legal scholars, scientists, and other experts agreed unanimously that there are no compelling philosophical arguments against altering human germlines, they also concluded that it is ethically irresponsible to do so now.

…continue reading ‘German Ethics Council Expresses Openness to Eventual Embryo Editing’

Image: via Flickr AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by ZEISS Microscopy

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