Facing Inheritable Genetic Modifications

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Science  18 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5520, pp. 1303
DOI: 10.1126/science.1057712

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The potential impacts of inheritable genetic modifications (IGM), whereby genetic traits can be transmitted to future generations, deserve greater public conversation and oversight than has so far accompanied recent human applications. We know next to nothing about the long-term effects of IGM, nor has there been adequate public consideration of its social consequences. Frankel and Chapman propose in this Policy Forum establishing a national system of oversight in the United States that would promote discussion of the public acceptability of IGM research and applications and, if IGM were to proceed, would review and approve all protocols and procedures with IGM implications in both the public and private sectors.