Altering Scientific Breakthrough Ignites Ethics Debate

March 21, 2015 3:09 AM

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Altering Scientific Breakthrough Ignites Ethics Debate

In 2012, a protein called CRISPR-Cas9 that can function as a sort of “DNA scissors”—snipping out unwanted material and splicing in new material—was discovered in microbes. Scientists believe the protein can be adapted to remove disease-enabling mutations, replacing them with “corrected” DNA strings.

On Thursday, a group of 18 scientists and ethicists issued a joint warning that the revolutionary new genetic editing tool should be used cautiously when attempting to fix human genetic pathologies, and urged against attempts at modifying the human genome that could be passed on to offspring. Since ...

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