Gene editing: Gateway to Promised Land, or key to Pandora’s box?

(RNS) — News that scientists for the first time successfully edited genes in human embryos created a stir this week.

In the experiment, outlined in a paper in the journal Nature published Wednesday (Aug. 2), scientists essentially snipped a mutant gene known to cause a heart condition that can lead to sudden death.

The work is controversial because it showed that scientists could manipulate life in its earliest stages and that those changes would then be inherited by future generations, if the embryo were allowed to grow into a baby. (The embryo in question was destroyed.)

It also raised the tantalizing promise that the baby would be disease-free and would not transmit the disease to his or her descendants.

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  • History tells us that new technologies are almost always used maliciously.

  • tom_billesley

    If a gene is snipped that causes psychopathic narcissism, will that damage islam?

  • Clausewitz

    Gene Roddenderry’s references to the Eugenic’s War’s in the original Star Trek come to mind. KKKKHHHHAAAAANNNNNNN.

  • mauser 98
    • Shebel

      Looks like my Grandmother on the Wife’s side—
      except prettier.

      • mauser 98

        yikes!!

  • Shebel

    No more ISLAM! This is good genetics.

  • WalterBannon

    As long as this science is only used to make MY offspring the superhuman rulers of the planet, all is good.

    Oh wait… I am a peasant.

  • CodexCoder

    A bit of clarification seems to be in order and a single question ought to do it: Have said scientists actually brought the embryo to term so as to prove that the editing worked? (And it seems from the article listed that they did not)

    So what did they, in fact, prove? Neither they nor the embryo had to suffer the consequences of their meddling, positive or negative. Indeed, all we have is their word that the editing was successful and would produce positive results. That’s like me playing the market with Monopoly money, and asking the bank for a loan based upon that success.

    Color me skeptical.