Americans are Becoming More Open to Human Genome Editing, Survey Finds, but Concerns Remain
Article

Americans are Becoming More Open to Human Genome Editing, Survey Finds, but Concerns Remain

Science, 2017

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8

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In 2016, the Pew Research Center reported that 68% of Americans were “somewhat” or “very” concerned about the idea of editing the human genome. More recent research suggests that two thirds of Americans find editing the human genome to be more or less acceptable, though support varied depending on the religiosity of the respondent, as well as the type of gene edited and the reasons for the manipulation. getAbstract recommends this report from Science to readers who are interested in the promise of CRISPR technology and how public opinion influences scientific progress.

Summary

Do Americans find it acceptable to edit the human genome?

Researchers from Temple University in Philadelphia and the University of Wisconsin at Madison surveyed 1600 Americans and found that two thirds deem it acceptable to attempt to edit the human genome. Respondents were presented with gene editing scenarios, in which genes were manipulated to treat a disease or enhance a person’s IQ or physical appearance. Scenarios also differentiated between changes to germline genes – which are passed down to subsequent generations – and changes to somatic genes, which would...

About the Author

Jon Cohen writes for Science magazine. His interests include infectious diseases, immunology, vaccines, public health, primates, and biomedical discovery.


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