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Eight Strategies to Engineer Acceptance of Human Germline Modifications

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Until recently, scientific consensus held firm that genetically manipulated embryos created through methods including Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy or human germline genome editing should not be used to initiate a pregnancy. In countries that have relevant laws pertaining to heritable human germline modifications, the vast majority prohibit or restrict this practice. In the last several years, scholars have observed a transformation of scientific and policy restrictions with insistent calls for creating a regulatory pathway. Multiple stakeholders highlight the role of social consensus and public engagement for governance of heritable human germline modifications. However, in the drive to gain public acceptance and lift restrictions, some proponents provide distorted or misleading narratives designed to influence public perception and incrementally shift the consensus. This article describes eight discrete strategies that proponents employ to influence framing, sway public opinion, and revise policymaking of human germline modifications in a manner that undermines honest engagement.

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Correspondence to Katherine Drabiak.

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Khan, S., Drabiak, K. Eight Strategies to Engineer Acceptance of Human Germline Modifications. Bioethical Inquiry (2023).

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