After a lab in Oregon successfully rid an embryo of a potentially deadly gene mutation, experts are calling for clear line to be drawn.
The international medical community is making it clear that while regulations on gene-editing may vary country to country, they stand united in setting a universal standard for the research at hand.
According to the LA Times, the American Society of Human Genetics, along with 10 other international organizations, penned a letter in the American Journal of Human Genetics to explain exactly why pushing the limits on gene-editing could be detrimental to humanity at large.
“Arguably, the ability to ‘easily’ request interventions intended to reduce medical risks and costs could make parents less tolerant of perceived imperfections or differences within their families,” stated the letter, according to the LA Times. ”Clinical use of germline gene editing might not be in the best interest of the affected individual if it erodes parental instinct for unconditional acceptance.”
The repercussions of this kind of gene-editing could potentially cause more harm than good, and as the letter also notes, lead to a seemingly easy way to do away with genes or characteristics that seem ‘unfit.’
The step taken in Oregon that prompted the united response is the tip of the iceberg on a movement anchored in genetics.
For instance, at a corporate level, the question of whether employers would be able to have employees (or potential hires) genetically tested has garnered significant media attention.
The American Society of Human Genetics also spoke openly on this topic, stating:
““[The established] privacy provisions have been key for reassuring Americans that they can volunteer as genetic research participants or undergo genetic testing without concern that they would be vulnerable to genetic discrimination by their employer or issuer of health insurance.”
In both instances the American Society of Human Genetics has offered a united front on how genetics should be used or analyzed.