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Gene Therapy

Gene therapy involves the direct genetic modification of cells of the patient in order to achieve a therapeutic goal. There are two possible types of gene therapy interventions that can be performed on individuals. Such interventions can be performed on an individual's somatic cells (that is, any cell in an organism that is not a reproductive cell) or on the gamete or gamete forming cells, called germ line cells. This entry briefly reviews the ethical and social issues that have arisen in somatic gene therapy, while having a larger focus on the issues present in germ line gene therapy. Developments in gene therapy often appear in the news, but rarely do such accounts fully analyze these issues.

Somatic gene therapy has the potential to treat a ...

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