China’s latest ‘ethical mess’: Cloning diseased gene-edited monkeys

1-27-2019 p w
Image credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences

Chinese researchers have cloned five gene-edited monkeys with a host of genetic disease symptoms, according to two scientific papers published [January 23].

The researchers say they want to use the gene-edited macaques for biomedical research; basically, they hope that engineering sick primates will reduce the total number of macaques used in research around the world. But their experiment is a minefield of ethical quandaries—and makes you wonder whether the potential benefits to science are enough to warrant all of the harm to these monkeys.

This research combines a ton of ethical issues into one package, from those surrounding animal rights to cloning to gene editing. As bioethicist Carolyn Neuhaus from The Hastings Center summarized her reaction to the announcement: “Whoa, this is a doozy.”

Related article:  A right to know? Should children be told when a parent's genetic test reveals hereditary risks?

“It’s very clear that these monkeys are seen as tools,” she explained. The team of scientists behind the new announcement tout the monkeys’ suffering—anxiety, depression, and “schizophrenia-like behaviors”—as a success. She noted that the researchers didn’t have scientific hypothesis or treatment they were attempting to prove or disprove.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t genetically edit monkeys, said Neuhaus. But, she said, “if I were on an ethics review committee, I would be very hesitant to approve [this research] because of the incredible amount of harm to the animals.”

Read full, original post: China’s Latest Cloned-Monkey Experiment Is an Ethical Mess

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Infographic: The evolutionary history of the COVID-19 coronavirus

Infographic: The evolutionary history of the COVID-19 coronavirus

Reuters analysed over 185,000 genome samples from the Global Initiative on Sharing All influenza Data (GISAID), the largest database of ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend