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Monica Burke is a research assistant in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.
A Chinese scientist caused an international scandal late last year when he edited the genes of a pair of unborn twins, in what became known as the CRISPR scandal.
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But another scientist in New York is doing something quite similar, without incurring the international backlash. His research is rife with ethical concerns and has the potential to unleash a dystopian future on the world.
Dieter Egli, a scientist based at Columbia University, is creating human embryos, editing their genome (that is, their DNA sequence), and then destroying them within 24 hours.
Embryos - Egli - Research - Scientist - CRISPR
Destroying the embryos is key. Egli distinguishes his research from that of the condemned Chinese scientist involved in the CRISPR scandal because he has not brought any modified embryos to term.
“We can’t just do the editing and then hope everything goes right and implant that into a womb. That’s not responsible,” Egli told NPR.
Sophistry - Experiment - Babies - Term - Research
But this is pure sophistry. Why else experiment with gene-editing if not to ultimately bring gene-edited babies to term? Presumably, as his research proceeds, he will destroy embryos at later phases of development, and then eventually bring some to term as genetically-edited children.
This raises a host of questions not just about killing the unborn, but about what human beings are in the first place.
Beings - Products - Whim - Objects - Time
Human beings are not products to be created and destroyed on a whim. They are not inanimate objects to be disposed with at any time, and treating them as such is dangerous and wrong. The human beings that Egli has carelessly produced and killed have the potential to grow into thriving adults, just like the rest of us.
If scientists can treat human beings like lab rats, what does that say about our overall attitude toward human life?...
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