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Ethical issues raised by intergenerational monitoring in clinical trials of germline gene modification

Abstract

As research involving gene editing continues to advance, we are headed in the direction of being able to modify the human germline. Should we reach a point where an argument can be made that the benefits of preventing unborn children and future generations from inheriting genetic conditions that cause tremendous suffering outweigh the risks associated with altering the human germline, the next step will be to design clinical trials using this technology in humans. These clinical trials will likely require careful follow-up and monitoring of future generations born with altered genes. This paper addresses some of the ethical issues raised by intergenerational monitoring and sets out to show that these issues can be avoided with careful consideration and clinical trial design.

  • genethics
  • clinical trials
  • genetic engineering

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