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About Inheritable Genetic Modification


The Basic Science

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Arguments Pro & Con

3-Person IVF

Inheritable genetic modification (IGM, also called germline engineering) means changing the genes passed on to future generations. The genetic changes would be made in eggs, sperm or early embryos; modified genes would appear not only in the person who developed from that gamete or embryo, but also in all succeeding generations. IGM has not been tried in humans. It would be by far the most consequential type of genetic modification as it would open the door to irreversibly altering the human species.

Proposals for inheritable genetic modification in humans combine techniques involving in vitro fertilization (IVF), gene transfer, stem cells and research cloning.



US 'Will Not Fund Research For Modifying Embryo DNA'[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by James GallagherBBCApril 30th, 2015Modifying the DNA of embryos is a "line that should not be crossed", a leading figure in US research says.
Statement on NIH Funding of Research Using Gene-Editing Technologies in Human Embryosby Francis CollinsNational Institute of HealthApril 29th, 2015There are unquantifiable safety issues, ethical issues presented by altering the germline in a way that affects the next generation without their consent, and a current lack of compelling medical applications justifying the use of CRISPR/Cas9 in embryos.
NIH Statement on Gene Editing Highlights Need for Stronger US Stance on Genetically Modified Humans, Says Public Interest GroupApril 29th, 2015CGS welcomes NIH Director Francis Collins' unambiguous statement that "altering the human germline in embryos for clinical purposes ...has been viewed almost universally as a line that should not be crossed."
Re-Engineering Human Embryos[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Tom AshbrookOn PointApril 28th, 2015Chinese scientists re-engineer human embryo genes, and set off a global moral debate.
Position Statement from the Society for Developmental Biology on Genomic Editing in Human EmbryosSociety for Developmental BiologyApril 24th, 2015Such studies raise deep ethical concerns on their own, and in addition could lead to unanticipated consequences if manipulated embryos were implanted into a womb and allowed to develop to term.
Ethics of Embryo Editing Paper Divides Scientists[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sara ReardonNature NewsApril 24th, 2015In March, rumours of the work prompted calls for a moratorium on such research. “No researcher has the moral warrant to flout the globally widespread policy agreement against altering the human germline.”
These are the Countries Where it's 'Legal' to Edit Human Embryos (Hint: the US is One) by Lauren F FriedmanBusiness InsiderApril 23rd, 2015In many places there are no laws preventing a scary "Gattaca scenario," where designer babies become routine — just some loose guidelines and a variable sense of ethics.
DNA Editing in Mouse Embryos Prevents Disease[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sara ReardonNature NewsApril 23rd, 2015“It is a bit of a slippery slope — if you start allowing any editing tool, you open a Pandora’s box of the possibility to edit anything.”
Chinese Gene-Editing Experiment Creeps Out Scientists[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Maggie FoxNBC NewsApril 23rd, 2015The work raises the specter of eugenics — making designer babies, or trying to "improve" the human race.
Critics Lash Out At Chinese Scientists Who Edited DNA In Human Embryos[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPRApril 23rd, 2015For the first time, scientists have edited DNA in human embryos, a highly controversial step long considered off limits.
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