Genetic diagnosis of embryos: Clear explanation, not rhetoric, is needed

Bouffard C, S Viville & BM Knoppers (2009), “Genetic diagnosis of embryos: Clear explanation, not rhetoric, is needed”, CMAJ, 181: 387-391.

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Embryonic research and genetic testing continue to raise concerns.1 With controversy comes debate and, sometimes, distortion of facts through the use of loaded terms and concepts that call to mind both historical events and science fiction.

Achieving greater public understanding of genetic diagno- sis of embryos, known generally as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (see definitions of terms in Appendix 1, available at, has impli- cations for the development of regulations and health policies for a broad field that includes genomics, reproductive genet- ics and embryonic research.2 We examine the debate about genetic testing and embryonic research with particular refer- ence to the use of words and concepts that have distorted public and scientific discourse in ways that could have a negative influence on laws and regulations for new reproduc- tive technologies generally. 


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