One in ten Brits would use gene editing to make their child more attractive or clever, a new study has revealed.
That’s the surprising result of a YouGov study which surveyed nearly 5,000 British adults about their views on gene editing.
More than one in ten said they were in favour of DNA editing for the sake of boosted their child’s intelligence.
Meanwhile, 8 per cent – a total of almost 400 respondents – said they would modify genomes if it meant improving their child’s looks.
Men were significantly morel likely to support the process in both instances, with 17 per cent thinking it should be allowed for intelligence compared to 7 per cent of women.
Eleven per cent of men supported altering appearance with DNA editing compared to 5 per cent of women.
The technology has the potential to radically reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of genetically inherited conditions such as cystic fibrosis or Huntington’s disease.
A form of gene editing called CRISPR is already being used bu scientists in China to alter disease-causing genetic mutations in human embryos.
However, although 8 per cent of the British population – equivalent to four million Britons – support gene editing to alter appearance, opinions are split on what’s acceptable.
The only characteristics which at least half of this group agree are editing are baldness (63 per cent) and build (54 per cent).
Just under half think it should be permissible to edit genes for height (49 per cent).
Slightly fewer favour altering DNA to select hair colour (43 per cent) and eye colour (39 per cent).
A third (33 per cent) of those who favour editing genes to alter appearance say it should be permissible to edit genes for skin colour.
Similarly, 76 per cent of the study’s respondents think gene editing to reduce the risk of disease should be allowed.
Nearly half of Britons (47 per cent) believe that gene editing for particular traits is similar to choosing a sperm or egg donor based on ethnicity, build, intelligence etc., while one in three think it is different. One in five (21 per cent) don’t know.