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Church sets out stance on gene surgery in human embryos

The medical ethics adviser of the Church of England has suggested that the church could agree to the genetic modification of embryos, if certain safeguards were in place.

Brendan McCarthy was speaking at an event, From Three-Person IVF to Genome Edition: The Science and Ethics of Engineering and the Embryo, on 9 December. He told the conference that the church might accept changes to the human germ line if concerns about safety, efficacy and fairness were addressed, The Times reports.

The technique of germ-line editing—which involves altering the DNA sequences of human sperm, eggs, and embryos—is a controversial technique with many scientists opposed to producing a pregnancy with such cells because of safety concerns and a lack of societal consensus. The technique could be used to prevent the inheritance of genetic diseases but might also be used to make enhancements by raising IQ or changing other attributes.

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