British scientists are among 150 experts calling for a worldwide ban on the genetic editing of embryos claiming the practice would ‘irrevocably alter the human species.’
Hundreds of geneticists are meeting in Washington this week to discuss whether there should be a global moratorium on engineering the DNA of humans if it means that genetic changes would be passed on to future generations.
Experts from Kings College London, Newcastle University and the University of London have joined with lawyers, sociologists and campaigners to call for an urgent ban on the practice warning it will lead to ‘designer babies’ and ‘GM humans.’
However other scientists claim that prohibiting research will only drive the practice underground to ‘black markets and uncontrolled medical tourism.’
In April China was ordered to ‘rein in’ scientists who altered the DNA of embryos to modify the gene responsible for the fatal blood disorder thalassaemia. The Francis Crick Institute in London is also currently seeking permission from the Human Fertilisation and Embyrology Authority (HFEA) to carry out similar experiments in Britain although the embryos will not be implanted in humans.