The Complicated Ethics of Genetic Engineering

With new technology to edit genes, scientists are now working on things that once seemed impossible. But what are the boundaries?


Genes influence health and disease, traits and behavior. With new tools available to edit those genes, scientists are now working towards things that once seemed impossible: creating immunity to viruses, eliminating genetic diseases—even resurrecting the woolly mammoth.

But when it comes to humans, scientists must contend with a question that will shape their work in the decades to come: Is it ethical to genetically engineer people?

Leading geneticist George Church spends a lot of time thinking about the answer.

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