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About Heritable Human Genome Editing

What is it about?

Heritable Human Genome Editing (HHGE), also called Human Germline Gene Editing, refers to molecular techniques which are used to alter DNA sequences in early-stage embryos or germ cells (sperm and egg cells). These modifications generated by this technique will affect all cells of the potential future child and also be passed on to future generations. The main argument in support of this technology is that it would be used to prevent the transmission of diseases from one generation to the other. 


Heritable Human Genome Editing (HHGE), does not treat, cure, or prevent disease in any living individual, though its intended use is the creation of embryos with altered genomes, which would also pass on their altered genes to future generations. The key question is therefore is it ethically acceptable to use this technology in order to "design" future babies?

In contrast Somatic Cell Genome Editing is performed in the non-reproductive of the and may contribute treat diseases in existing individuals. Changes made by somatic genome therapy are not be passed down to future generations. Somatic Cell Genome Editing will not be discussed in this Website. 

Why this HHGE Project?

This project is part of my dissertation:

  • This website aims to engage the broad public in an interactive discussion about HGGE. This project offers the public the opportunity to learn about Germline Editing, discuss it online, and reflect on the societal implications of Germline Editing on the future of humanity.

  • Zoom Conference: Various experts will cover different aspects of Heritable Human Germline Editing (HHGE). Participants will then discuss the potential societal implications of Germline Editing. Notes from the discussions will then be posted on the website.

HHGE poses many ethical and social challenges. Decisions on HHGE and its consequences should not be left to the scientists alone, but also must include the public. The public should not only be informed about HHGE but included in the decisions relating to the application of HHGE.


Reasons for public engagement

Inclusive public debate is required in order to strengthen democratic governance, and to allow the public to participate in the assessment of risk and benefit.

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