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:  Europe's restrictions on gene-edited crops may cause 'exodus' of biotech scientists

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

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
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