People Are Sceptical About Editing Genes That Carry Inheritable Traits

Majority of people are still ok with this type of genetic involvement from science is it means that it is used in order to treat or prevent certain diseases.

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In general, most people are fine with the idea of editing human genes as long as a certain line is not crossed. This line includes changing genetic material that would affect trains which would be passed down to the new generations, according to the newest surveys done on this topic.

Majority of people are still ok with this type of genetic involvement from science is it means that it is used in order to treat or prevent certain diseases, but it is clear that there are some rather complex ethical issues that need to be taken into consideration. Some of those issues are what would be acceptable and who could be harmed by the process.

Dietram Scheufele, a professor of science communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who led the survey said: “There’s probably much more optimism rather than pessimism about this technology overall. In spite of that optimism, though, there’s also a really strong desire across different groups for broader public debates that involve different viewpoints and help us sort through some of the societal questions, the ethical questions, the political questions that this technology without a doubt raises.’’

Scheufele and his team have conducted a survey of 1,600 people over a span of two months where they asked questions like: “How likely do you think it is that human gene editing will give some people too much power to change the course of human development?”. There we also questions regarding different applications of this science which included: “How acceptable do you think it is to use gene editing to treat a person’s physical diseases or conditions, such as cancer, if those changes will not be passed on to future generations?”

Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard’s School of Public Health, says however that the people who took the survey are most likely not gene editing experts which is important because “very specific conclusions have to be tempered by the fact that the people being surveyed are not as aware of the issue or the science behind it.”

He also noted that ‘’when you use the term ’embryos’, you get a somewhat less supportive view. So if you don’t mention embryos or anything like that, you get much higher views for you know, getting rid of things like Huntington’s disease.”

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