US Scientists Just Confirmed They’ve Genetically Modified Human Embryos

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The researchers want to move onto clinical trials in humans and “monitor the birth of children.“


On Wednesday, scientists confirmed widely circulating reports that they’d genetically modified human embryos in a US lab—and said that, after more research and ethical debate, they hope to begin clinical trials. That would mean „transplanting some of these embryos with the goal of establishing pregnancy and monitoring the birth of children,“ lead author Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University told reporters.

A clinical trial like this wouldn’t be possible right now in the US, where there are rules in place restricting embryo editing. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be done elsewhere. If the US won’t allow trials to proceed, „we would be supportive of moving this technology to different countries,“ said Mitalipov.

Although Mitalipov was careful to talk about this work in terms of genetic „correction,“ not „enhancement,“ we are on the road towards a time where it’ll be possible to make genetically engineered humans, giving us the ability to stamp out specific inheritable diseases and wield incredible power over our genome. Ethicists are concerned we are racing towards a future we aren’t prepared for, with risks we don’t understand.

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