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  • Biology's last taboo

When the world’s first transgenic primate was created in early 2001, some reports suggested that we were just one step removed from ‘designer’ human babies.

But, in fact, technical complications mean that safe methods of manipulating the human germline are far from a practical reality.

And even if safety issues are overcome, the ethical questions remain unanswered. While some see altering the human genome as a legitimate way to cure inherited diseases, others believe that tampering with our genetic inheritance in this way is fundamentally wrong.

Reference: Nature 413, 12 (2001)

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