The risks far outweigh the benefits in my opinion. Yes, that's right. In my opinion as a physician who sees innumerable congenital abnormalities throughout the day, I am thrilled at the prospect of scientifically modifying the genetic code of a developing embryo in order to prevent the emotional, physical and societal burdens that come with a genetic anomaly.
Let not the religious parochiality continue to stymie scientific progress. But attend to appropriate regulation of said science in order to stave off the inevitable fraud and abuse that comes from human greed.
Scientific progress is the name of the game.
The above commentary is based on news excerpted below from the AMA:
Researchers use CRISPR to repair genetic mutation in embryos
On its front page, the New York Times (8/2, A1, Belluck, Subscription Publication) reports that for the first time, scientists “successfully edited genes in human embryos to repair a” disease-causing mutation, according to a study published in Nature. The study “marks a major milestone and...raises the prospect that gene editing may one day protect babies from a variety of hereditary conditions,” but also raises ethical concerns about human genetic engineering.
The Washington Post (8/2, A1, Cha) reports in “To Your Health” that researchers injected sperm carrying a mutation that causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy into eggs without the mutation, and then used CRISPR to remove the mutation from the resulting embryos. The researchers found that the mutation was absent from around 72 percent of the embryos, and the process did not cause any other changes to the cells’ DNA.
USA Today (8/2, Painter) reports that the research raises the prospect that the single mutations that cause many genetic diseases could be repaired in embryos thereby preventing them from being passed on to future generations. The article points out, however, that the US and many other countries currently prohibit genetic research that could alter germ lines, because of safety and ethical concerns.