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Arch Med Res. 2012 Oct;43(7):491-513. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2012.09.003. Epub 2012 Oct 13.

Human germline genetic modification: scientific and bioethical perspectives.

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School of Contemporary Sciences, Abertay University, Dundee, United Kingdom.


The latest mammalian genetic modification technology offers efficient and reliable targeting of genomic sequences, in the guise of designer genetic recombination tools. These and other improvements in genetic engineering technology suggest that human germline genetic modification (HGGM) will become a safe and effective prospect in the relatively near future. Several substantive ethical objections have been raised against HGGM including claims of unacceptably high levels of risk, damage to the status of future persons, and violations of justice and autonomy. This paper critically reviews the latest GM science and discusses the key ethical objections to HGGM. We conclude that major benefits are likely to accrue through the use of safe and effective HGGM and that it would thus be unethical to take a precautionary stance against HGGM.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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