Viewpoint: What FDA’s Scott Gottlieb is missing in the gene-edited baby debate

Image credit: Associated Press

I am a huge fan of FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

But in his comments on the news that gene edited embryos in China had led to live births, I think he has it wrong.

Where I disagree with him most strongly is another quote: “The response from the scientific community has been far too slow and far too tepid, and the credibility of the community to self-police has already been damaged.”

This confuses what scientific “governance” and “self-policing” mean, in contrast to what government “governance” and “self-policing” mean.

As soon as the facts have come to light, we have seen Dr. He Jiankui attacked (albeit with a minority of defenders) by his peers as unethical, his work scrutinized, his affiliations rescinded. This is what scientific governance and self-policing looks like. There is no real “science police” — the scientific community does not have the coercive power of the state to put people in shackles and cart them off.

Related article:  USDA won't regulate gene-edited camelina, accelerating development of sustainable omega-3 oil source

I fail to see how the “scientific community,” as some large brooding omnipresence, could have done more to deter what looks like a rogue actor, working off the grid and out of the mainstream, shrouded in secrecy.

…He’s experiments are troubling, but they suggest a disregard for violating an established regulatory structure, not a complicit scientific community.

Read full, original post: How Scott Gottlieb is Wrong on the Gene Edited Baby Debacle

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