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Some prominent scientists in the US have called for a moratorium or ban on the genetic modification of children and future generations, after major developments in genetic engineering and synthetic biology, which, they say, could potentially have irreversible and monumental effects on humanity.

The Center for Genetics and Society (CGS), a key US-based organisation that encourages "responsible and effective" uses of biomedical technologies, issued a statement pushing for the moratorium on Monday.

The release of the statement, endorsed by more than 150 advocates and scholars, came a day before the US National Academies of Sciences and Medicine holds the International Summit on Human Gene Editing in Washington DC

On Monday, the CGS also published a report in collaboration with Friends of the Earth, an international environmental group, on the potential dangers of technology that could alter the DNA of humans and animals, and modify entire ecosystems.

Some scientists advocate for the use of genetic modification as a way of preventing a range of diseases, but they have been met with stiff opposition from many of their peers.