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A wrench on top of the human genome to symbolize gene editing

Last Week in London, a small group of protestors braved it out in the rain in front of the Francis Crick Institute, where the Third International Summit on Human Genome Editing was taking place. The sparse congregation, from the group Stop Designer Babies, brandished signs urging “Never Again to Eugenics” and “NO HGM”(no human genetic modification). The group campaigns against what it sees as the scientific community’s lurch towards using gene editing for biological enhancement—to tweak genomes to give, say, higher intelligence or blue eyes. If this came to pass, it would be a slippery slope towards eugenics, the group argues.

Three days later, at the close of the summit, it seems the group’s wishes may have been partially granted—at least for the time being.  

After several days of experts chewing on the scientific, ethical, and governance issues associated with human genome editing, the summit’s organizing committee put out its closing statement. Heritable human genome editing—editing embryos that are then implanted to establish a pregnancy, which can pass on their edited DNA—“remains unacceptable at this time,” the committee... see more