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In These Cases, Sure

Most US adults are OK with editing fetal genes if the alterations are to improve the baby's health, but are not comfortable with edits to make a child more intelligent, Newsweek reports.

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 72 percent of US adults said using gene editing to prevent a baby from having a serious disease at birth is an appropriate use of the tool. Fewer respondents — but still a majority at 60 percent — thought it would be appropriate to use gene editing to prevent a later-in-life disease. Only 19 percent thought it was OK to make gene edits to improve a child's intelligence.

However, most US adults also said that if such editing required testing on embryos that would make it less acceptable to them.

The Pew team notes that there are differences in the acceptance of gene editing by how religious the respondents are, gender, and knowledge of science. The team surveyed 2,537 US adults between the end of April and May of this year.