Viewpoint: ‘Greed and profit’ will drive human gene editing unless we develop strong regulations

6-3-2019 editing
Zhou Xiaoqin installs a fine glass pipette into a sperm injection microscope in preparation for injecting embryos with Cas9 protein and PCSK9 sgRNA at a lab in Shenzhen in southern China's Guandong province. Image: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

We may now be on the verge of adding germline engineering to the menu of available reproductive services, that will, for a price, offer to edit “desired” genetic characteristics into embryos — both health-related and enhancements — that will pass down the generations.

As some in the science community expressed outrage at [He Jiankui]— not, in my opinion, over what was done, but when — a business director of a Dubai fertility clinic emailed the scientist to congratulate the genetic engineer for the “achievement of the first gene-edited baby delivered by your technique.” The email then got the real point of the communication: The clinic wanted to send its embryologist to China to learn the technique so genetic engineering could added to its menu of available services.

Related article:  Why we don't have to worry about 'designer babies': Altering intelligence is too hard

The alacrity with which the Dubai clinic reacted to the birth of a genetically engineered baby –before its safety has been determined, much less its moral propriety fully explored — illustrates that greed and profit will be the accelerant that drives genetic engineering into widespread deployment. It will, that is, unless stringent and legally enforceable regulations prevent the biotech wildcatters from taking control.

Read full, original post: Don’t Let Profiteers Control Human Genetic Engineering

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
ac antarctica feat x

Video: Antarctica research shows how isolation changes the brain

As humans grapple with pandemic-induced isolation, science is starting to offer insight into what may be happening in our brains when ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

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

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

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

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend