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Experimental field, 15.10 - 15.11.2019

Lulu and Nana are the first people in the world whose genetic make-up has been deliberately altered. That sounds like science fiction - but it is reality. The twins were born in China in 2018 as a result of an unauthorized experiment. Even as embryos, the scientist He Jiankui had altered the genes of the girls in the laboratory. He wanted to protect Lulu and Nana from a possible infection with AIDS. Such changes in the human genome are called germ line interventions. Their effects and side effects are even inherited. They affect not only Lulu and Nana, but also their future children. Hes attempt provoked violent reactions. Because germ line interventions are considered the first step to control human evolution. In a statement in 2019, the German Ethics Council declared such a change to embryos to be too risky - however, it does not regard germ line interventions as a taboo in principle: because future interventions could one day prevent serious hereditary diseases. 

The research project ZukunftMensch deals with the social perception of germ line interventions. Come into the experimental field of the Museum für Naturkunde and let us know which expectations, hopes or worries you associate with the possibility of changing the human genome.