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< Back to question Should genetically modifying babies be legal? Show more Show less

The term “genetic modification” most commonly refers to a technique known as mitochondrial replacement therapy. The treatment involves constructing an embryo from the DNA of three people, using one party’s mitochondrial DNA in place of another, which is at risk for passing on a mitochondrial illness. In recent years, the genetic modification of babies has become a widely debated issue. The first genetically altered babies were born in 2018, prompting the scientific community to debate the ethics of the project. Is this procedure the scientific community's latest achievement, or a step too far?

No, genetically modifying babies should not be legal Show more Show less

According to most experts, genetic modification of babies carries social and safety risks that make the responsible practice of this procedure impossible.
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The majority of scientists think that this is a bad idea

We should heed the voices of scientific experts warning against this procedure's possible drawbacks.
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The Argument

Although some scientists perceive human gene editing as an exciting possibility, many others condemn the practice as extreme. During the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, organizers concluded that a scientist's creation of the world's first gene-edited babies was "disturbing" and "irresponsible." The Center for Genetics and Society argues that this practice holds the frightening potential to change the inheritable traits of humans, which warrants the procedure's widespread rejection. Accordingly, more than forty countries have outlawed the procedure.[1] If the scientific community features such a strong rejection of this practice, we must trust their consensus and condemn the genetic modification of babies.

Counter arguments

In the past, the scientific community has condemned important medical breakthroughs. Because the majority have rejected progress before, the scientific community's scorn of genetic modification is not a good reason to abandon the project.

Premises

[P1] If most members of the scientific community warn against a practice, it is most likely a bad idea.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The argument assumes that the scientific community's opinion on this matter is trustworthy.

References

  1. https://www.geneticsandsociety.org/press-statement/call-uk-reject-modifying-genes-future-generations

This page was last edited on Tuesday, 28 Apr 2020 at 09:18 UTC

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