ACMG Urges Caution When Editing Embryo Genomes

The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics calls on scientists and health care providers to engage in public discussion about the ethical issues involved in genome editing. 

Diana Kwon
Diana Kwon

Diana is a freelance science journalist who covers the life sciences, health, and academic life.

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Jan 29, 2017

PIXABAY The board of directors of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) released a statement last Thursday outlining their concerns about genome editing technologies in Genetics in Medicine (January 26).

“Genome editing offers great promise for the future treatment of individuals and families with genetic disorders,” the authors write, “but also raises major technological and ethical issues that must be resolved before clinical application.”

Thanks to the CRISPR system, a powerful gene editing tool, scientists may soon be able to edit genes to cure diseases. But the ACMG board pointed out some limitations of gene editing technologies such as CRISPR, including off-target effects and potential safety issues (introducing new genetic variations while editing pathological genes, for example). They also pointed out that with embryos, these safety and technological challenges come with the distinct possibility of impacting future generations through the germline.

The board also encouraged broad,...


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ACMG Urges Caution When Editing Embryo Genomes

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