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Petra De Sutter: “high time for a debate on new genetic technologies”

Petra De Sutter (Belgium, SOC), rapporteur on "the use of new genetic technologies in human beings", today underlined the urgency of taking a clear position on the practical use of new genetic technologies following the publication of a new study in the journal Nature yesterday.

The study suggested that the techniques used had potential to be used for the correction of heritable mutations in human embryos by complementing pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.

"This study undermines the scientific consensus that new genome editing techniques are not yet ‘safe’ enough to establish a pregnancy, even though its authors cautioned that much remains to be considered before clinical applications," explained Ms De Sutter.

"Deliberate germline editing in human beings would cross a line viewed as ethically inviolable. The science in this field is moving incredibly fast. Once these new techniques are considered ‘safe’, it will be too late to set the limits."

The Parliamentary Assembly is due to debate a report on this topic during its autumn part-session (9-13 October 2017).