When genomics lets us design our children, how can we keep it fair for all?

Granted, genetic manipulation has been a dream for decades. Here’s what is different now.

Learning childcare at Beijing's Nanny University. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

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Embryonic Human DNA Has Just Been Successfully Repaired in the U.S.

U.S. scientists have successfully repaired DNA in a human embryo for the first time.

Image source: Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock

American researchers have announced the successful repair of a human embryo's genes. As reported in the journal Nature, they used CRISPR-cas9. On one hand, their success represents an exciting breakthrough and on the other, it's a stark reminder of all we don't yet understand about human genetics. That's because the repair of the gene occurred in a way that researchers didn't anticipate.

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CRISPR for Human Embryos? Diseases, Yes – Designer Babies, No

Creating a race of super soldiers is off the table, too. 

 

Ethicists fear gene editing could lead to a homogeneous human race, or worse.

CRISPR-Cas9 is a precise method of gene editing. It can snip a gene out of the DNA sequence –say, a harmful mutation – then add a healthy gene to replace it. This new but exciting technique is being used in clinical trials to treat things like hereditary cancer. It could also be a godsend for certain genetic diseases, such as Huntington’s or Tay-Sachs disease, among others. Experimental studies with cancer and blindness are slated to reap benefits this year.

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