Expert group says embryo genetic modification should be allowed

By REUTERS
September 10, 2015 06:23
2 minute read.

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

WASHINGTON - Research involving genetic modification of human embryos, though controversial, is essential to gain basic understanding of the biology of early embryos and should be permitted, an international group of experts said on Wednesday.

The statement was issued by members of the so-called Hinxton Group, a global network of stem cell researchers, bioethicists and policy experts who met in Britain last week.

The group said it did not currently favor allowing genetically modified human babies to be born.

"However, we acknowledge that when all safety, efficacy and governance needs are met, there may be morally acceptable uses of this technology in human reproduction, though further substantial discussion and debate will be required," the group said in a statement.

The expert group cited the "tremendous value to basic research" and said the science of gene-editing "will continue to progress rapidly, and there is and will be pressure to make decisions scientifically and for funding, publishing and governance purposes."

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funds biomedical research, refuses to provide money for any use of such gene-editing technologies in human embryos.

"The concept of altering the human germline in embryos for clinical purposes has been debated over many years from many different perspectives, and has been viewed almost universally as a line that should not be crossed," NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said in April.

Collins at the time noted that researchers in China had described experiments in a non-viable human embryo to modify the gene responsible for a potentially fatal blood disorder using a gene-editing technology.

Debra Mathews of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics in Maryland and a member of the Hinxton Group steering committee said despite deep moral disagreement on the subject "what is needed is not to stop all discussion, debate and research." Mathews called for weighing the potential benefits and harms of human genome editing for research and human health.

Robin Lovell-Badge, a member of the Hinxton Group steering committee and head of the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics at the Francis Crick Institute in Britain, said, "Genome-editing techniques could be used to ask how cell types are specified in the early embryo and the nature and importance of the genes involved."

"Understanding gained could lead to improvements in IVF (in vitro fertilization) and reduced implantation failure, using treatments that do not involve genome editing," Lovell-Badge added.

Related Content

Breaking news
July 18, 2018
China cuts Air China's flight hours, launches safety review after incident

By REUTERS