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Views of Gene Editing Morality Depend on Proposed Usage

Views on the morality of gene editing vary widely based on its intended usage, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (APNORC) report released Dec. 28.

Gene editing is the addition, removal or alteration of an organism’s DNA. A significant focus on current research is using this technology for the purpose of curing and preventing disease.

Sixty percent said it was morally acceptable to use gene editing to prevent an incurable or fatal disease, 58 percent to reduce disease risk and 54 percent to prevent a non-fatal condition.

By contrast, only 11 percent felt it morally acceptable to use gene editing to alter a person’s abilities and only 8 percent to change a physical feature.

A slim majority (52) thought it very likely that gene editing “would be used for unethical reasons,” while 36 percent said this is somewhat likely.

A strong majority (77 percent) of respondents identified themselves as Christian, with 32 percent saying they are “born-again / evangelical.”

The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

The full report is available here.