The American Association for the Advancement of Science has
long-anticipated report concerning human germline modification. It is
available at <http://www.aaas.org/spp/dspp/sfrl/germline/main.htm>.
The 20-person committee that prepared the report was dominated
people supportive of human germline engineering. A superficial reading
can give the impression that the report makes a case *against* germline
modification--and this is what media headlines about it have said (See
000.htm>; Los Angeles Times, 9/19/00, p. A6; and San Jose Mercury News,
9/19/00, p. 13A.)
Indeed, the initial sections of the report (see "Findings"
"Concerns" below) do present many of the reasons that human germline
engineering is extraordinarily dangerous and ultimately unjustifiable.
However, a careful reading of the report shows that the expressed
concerns over safety, justice, and societal impacts are, in the end,
used to legitimize final recommendations of just the sort favored by
*proponents* of germline modification: creation of a "system of over-
sight" that would promote "a national conversation" on human germline
modification "for therapeutic and enhancement applications, and under
what conditions human research and application...