Viewpoint: Why CRISPR embryo editing is not ‘morally urgent’: No one has to have a child

gene involved in embryo development identified using crisprcas
Image: Technology Networks
[He Jiankui’s CRISPR babies] brought to the surface common misunderstandings — even among scientists and ethicists — that reproductive uses of this genome-modifying tool have therapeutic value, will treat people with genetic disorders, will save lives, and will eradicate disease. None of those are true.

Imagine an individual or couple at high risk for creating a child with a serious genetic disease. They have the following simplified range of options:

Create a genetically related child in the time-honored fashion who will be at high risk for the genetic disease.

Create a genetically related child using CRISPR who will be at very low risk for the genetic disease.

Related article:  FDA plan to regulate a gene-edited animal as a 'drug' will 'choke' research, experts say

Create no genetically related child.

The existence of option C undermines the claim that rCRISPR applications are lifesaving or curative.

Individuals have a choice in the matter of creating children at high risk of genetic disease: They can choose option C. Here is a different way of seeing the point that rCRISPR is not morally urgent because it does not involve a child whose existence, or illness, is inevitable.

Read full, original post: Using CRISPR to edit eggs, sperm, or embryos does not save lives

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