Some Catholic ethicists decry human embryo gene editing as ‘immoral’

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Researchers in Oregon have announced that they have successfully altered genes in a human embryo for the first time in the United States, but Catholic ethicists warn that the procedure is morally objectionable for many reasons.

“Their value as human beings is profoundly denigrated every time they are created, experimented upon, and then killed. Moreover, if such embryos were to grow up, as will doubtless occur in the future, there are likely to be unintended effects from modifying their genes,” [Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education for the National Catholic Bioethics Center said.]

While researchers laud the breakthrough as a step towards the birth of genetically modified humans and the potential ability to treat inherited genetic diseases, the embryonic humans created and tested in both the U.S. and Chinese experiments were all destroyed within a few days of the procedure.

“These experiments were nontherapeutic, as the goal was ultimately to destroy the embryos,” Father Pacholczyk continued. “Consent is particularly important when dealing with very vulnerable research subjects, and human embryos are among the most vulnerable of God’s creatures.”


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Amid Human Embryo Gene Editing in Oregon, Ethicists Say Procedure Is Immoral