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Experts have warned against the “unproven” and “unethical” use of genetic tests to predict the risk of complex diseases in embryos created through IVF.

Though not currently available in the UK, such tests are being marketed in the US and their availability is likely to increase as the technology develops, representatives from the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) said.

Writing in the European Journal of Human Genetics, they stressed that there is currently no evidence that the technique called polygenic risk score (PRS) analysis can predict the likelihood of as yet unborn children being at risk of complex diseases such as schizophrenia, type 2 diabetes or breast cancer in later life.

The geneticists also called for a societal debate about the future application of such tests, such as selecting for traits like height or intelligence.

“We believe that this is a highly promising field in genetics and for the prevention of disease, but at the [present] stage, it cannot be used,” said the ESHG president, Maurizio Genuardi, a professor of medical genetics at the Catholic University of... see more