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No designer babies, but summit calls for cautious research

7 years 5 months 4 weeks ago Thursday, December 03 2015 Dec 3, 2015 December 03, 2015 3:32 PM December 03, 2015 in Health
Source: Associated Press
By: Lauran Neergaard

WASHINGTON - Organizers of an international summit say a tool to edit human genes is nowhere near ready to attempt in pregnancy, but they're calling for more laboratory research with the revolutionary technology.

Editing the human genetic code promises to lead to long sought cures for intractable diseases. But it also could be used to alter human heredity, passing genetic alterations to future generations.

Scientists and ethicists from 20 countries debated the future of gene editing this week, with a clear endorsement of research into promising treatments that would affect the sick but not their descendants. 

What about editing human sperm, eggs or early embryos? The summit's organizers said "it would be irresponsible" to use edited cells to lead to pregnancy but said basic laboratory research should continue.

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