In this Oct. 9, 2018 photo, an embryologist adjusts a microplate containing embryos that were injected with gene-editing components in a laboratory in Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong province. Most Americans say it would be OK to change the DNA of babies before they're born to protect them from a variety of diseases _ but a December 2018 poll shows they'd draw the line at gene editing to create children who are smarter, faster or taller. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

AP-NORC Poll: Most support gene editing to protect babies

December 28, 2018 - 5:03 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new poll finds most Americans support using gene-editing technology to create babies protected against a variety of diseases — but not to make children smarter, faster or taller.

Friday's release of the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research comes a month after startling claims of the world's first gene-edited births in China. It finds people torn between the medical promise of technology powerful enough to alter human heredity and concerns over how to use it ethically.

Most Americans favor one day using gene editing to prevent a variety of disorders a child otherwise would inherit, both fatal and non-fatal.

But the poll also uncovered fear that it will be used for unethical reasons — and won't be affordable for the average person.

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