Government group pulls video after it stirs talk of designer babies

Government group pulls video after it stirs talk of designer babies
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The National Academy of Sciences deleted a tweet and a video it had posted earlier in the week over concerns that it condoned the making of designer babies.

According to The Associated Press, the government-funded group's now-deleted tweet read: “Dream of being stronger? Or smarter? Do you dream of having a top student or star athlete? Or a child free of inheritable #diseases? Can human #GeneEditing eventually make this and more possible? #TheScienceBehindIt Take the quiz!”

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The video and the tweet touched on an ethical gray area in growing technology.

Gene editing, the process of changing DNA in sperm, eggs or embryos, is thought to possibly be a gateway to eliminating or treating diseases, but many fear that such technology can lead to the slippery slope of creating humans with a desired set of traits, or designer babies.

Dr. George Q. Daley, dean of Harvard Medical School, told the AP that "the video gives the inaccurate impression that gene editing can give positive traits without any potential downsides —the definition of hubris. We are not there yet.”

The Academy's official stance is that gene editing should only be used for disease prevention purposes. Academy spokeswoman Molly Galvin told the news outlet that the goal of the video was to educate the public on the complex subject.

Following an initial article by the AP, the Academy removed the video and tweet and released an apology, saying that the video “left the misimpression that the use of genome editing for the ‘enhancement’ of human traits is permissible or taken lightly."