The draft rules mean that anyone who manipulates human genes in adults or embryos is responsible for adverse outcomes

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Dieter Egli, a developmental biologist at Columbia University, says he is conducting his experiments “for research purposes.” He wants to determine whether CRISPR can safely repair mutations in human embryos to prevent genetic diseases from being passed down for generations

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History tells us that fears about designer babies are exaggerated when it comes to the alteration, deletion, or swapping of genes in human embryos, renowned bioethicist Alta Charo, PhD, said during a TEDMED 2017 talk in Palm Springs, California

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Stem cells can be coaxed to self-assemble into structures resembling human embryos

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Now he’s toiling to understand just what happened. Biologist Shoukhrat Mitalipov knew he’d done something pretty big: He’d conducted the first experiment in the U.S. to edit a dysfunctional gene in a viable human embryo. That was sure to spark a debate about designer babies and draw ire from the anti-abortion groups that so vehemently oppose such research

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If a peer-reviewed paper bears out the news story, “It’s one more step on the path to potential clinical application,” says bioethicist Jeffrey Kahn of Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, who served on a committee convened by the NASEM to address gene editing. The panel’s report earlier this year concluded that a clinical trial involving embryo editing would be ethically allowable under narrow circumstances.

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There’s less going on here than meets the eye

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Australian scientists are pushing for a relaxation of the laws surrounding gene editing technology to allow experiments to be performed on human embryos

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