The American journal of bioethics : AJOB

Germline Manipulation and Our Future Worlds.

PMID 26632358


Two genetic technologies capable of making heritable changes to the human genome have revived interest in, and in some quarters a very familiar panic concerning, so-called germline interventions. These technologies are: most recently the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to edit genes in non-viable IVF zygotes and Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy (MRT) the use of which was approved in principle in a landmark vote earlier this year by the United Kingdom Parliament. The possibility of using either of these techniques in humans has encountered the most violent hostility and suspicion. However it is important to be aware that much of this hostility dates back to the fears associated with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and other reproductive technologies and by cloning; fears which were baseless at the time concerning both IVF and cloning the use of both of which have proved to be highly beneficial to humanity and which have been effectively regulated and controlled. This paper argues that CRISPR should by pursued through researh until it is safe enough for use in humans but there is no reason to suppose at this stage that such use will be unsafe or unethical (Collins 2015).