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Why human embryo editing is not a ‘slippery slope’

We need a more open and clear-sighted debate about the ethics of this intervention in human genetics

By Philip Ball  

A human embryo implanting, six days after fertilisation

The genetic modification of human embryos by a team of Chinese scientists has inevitably, and rightly, provoked controversy. The work, which could potentially lead to the cure of genetic disorders such as haemophilia, anaemia and some cancers but also raises the prospect of “designer babies”, was reported last week in the little-known journal Protein and Cell, after apparently being rejected by the leading journals Nature and Science on ethical grounds.

Those decisions could give the…

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