Menu

ISTOCK, CIPHOTOS

Bioethics Council: Gene-Editing Human Embryos Conditionally OK

The UK-based organization encourages public debate about the issue but does not recommend immediate policy change.

Jul 17, 2018
Shawna Williams

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics, an influential, independent body in the U.K. that provides recommendations on medical and biological questions, released a report today (July 17) suggesting that gene-editing of human embryos should be permissible in some circumstances. UK law currently prohibits making alterations to people that could be passed down to future generations, and the report stops short of recommending an immediate change to that policy, but instead encourages public debate around what regulations should be in place.

“It is our view that genome editing is not morally unacceptable in itself,” Karen Yeung, chair of the working group behind the report and a professor of law, ethics, and informatics at the University of Birmingham, tells The Guardian. “There is no reason to rule it out in principle.”

See “Review: The End of Sex

The working group recommends that changing embryos’ genes should only be permitted when the intervention would benefit the future child, and when doing so would not run the risk of exacerbating social inequality by conferring genetic advantages on those whose parents could afford it. 

David King of the UK-based advocacy group Human Genetics Alert tells Reuters in an email that the committee had effectively approved of creating “designer babies. . . . We must have an international ban on creating genetically engineered babies.” 

Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society also took a dim view of the report, telling The Guardian, “In practical terms, they have thrown down a red carpet for unrestricted use of inheritable genetic engineering, and a gilded age in which some are treated as genetic ‘haves’ and the rest of us as ‘have-nots.’” 

February 2019

Big Storms Brewing

Can forests weather more major hurricanes?

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced that its QXDx AutoDG ddPCR System, which uses Bio-Rad’s Droplet Digital PCR technology, and the QXDx BCR-ABL %IS Kit are the industry’s first digital PCR products to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance. Used together, Bio-Rad’s system and kit can precisely and reproducibly monitor molecular response to treatment in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today showcases new automation features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer during the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2019 International Conference and Exhibition (SLAS) in Washington, D.C., February 2–6. These capabilities enable the ZE5 to be used for high-throughput flow cytometry in biomarker discovery and phenotypic screening.
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Researchers to benefit from an innovative software-connected pipetting system, bringing improved reproducibility and traceability of experiments to life-science laboratories.
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) will showcase advanced 3D cell culture technologies and workflow solutions for spheroids, organoids, tissue models, and applications including ADME/toxicology at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) conference, Feb. 2-6 in Washington, D.C.