U.S. Panel Endorses Designer Babies to Avoid Serious Disease

Since its invention four years ago, a powerful and precise technology for editing DNA called CRISPR has transformed science because of how it makes altering the genetic makeup of plants and animals easier than ever before.

But no possibility opened by gene-editing technology has been so exciting, frightening, or as hotly contested as its capacity to allow humanity, for the first time, to control the genetic constitution of children by applying CRISPR to human embryos, sperm, or eggs—cells which together make up the “germ line.”  

On Tuesday, in a striking acknowledgement that humanity is on the cusp of genetically modified children, a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation’s source of blue-ribbon advice on science policy, recommended that germ-line modification of human beings be permitted in the future in certain narrow circumstances to prevent the birth of children with serious diseases.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603633/us-panel-endorses-designer-babies-to-avoid-serious-disease/