Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Germline edits: Trust ethics review process

Edward Lanphier and colleagues contend that human germline editing is an unethical technology because it could have unpredictable effects on future generations. In our view, such misgivings do not justify their proposed moratorium (Nature 519, 410–411; 2015).

When in vitro fertilization and preimplantation genetic diagnosis were first introduced, they had unpredictable consequences. Both went on to transform reproductive medicine.

Many nations already have ethics review processes that assess the risks of experiments on human embryos, with the prospect of even stricter evaluation standards as new fertility techniques come along (I. G. Cohen et al. Science 348, 178–180; 2015).

There is no reason to close off whole avenues of controversial research when they have barely begun (see, for example, Nature; 2015). Germline editing is a revolutionary technology that potentially offers an enormous range of benefits to the next generation.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Julian Savulescu.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Savulescu, J., Gyngell, C. & Douglas, T. Germline edits: Trust ethics review process. Nature 520, 623 (2015).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing