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Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing

December 2, 2019 • Posted in Blog

 

A Book Review By R. Henry Williams, M.D., F.A.C.P., M.A. (Ethics) Board Chairman, The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture

Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston, Editors Oxford University Press, 2019

 

 

As we now live in a time when our genetic code can be altered, whether for better or worse, how should we think about what is best for ourselves? How can we as a human species and as individuals flourish? These are the questions posed in the new volume, Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing. The essays here are interactive, frequently referencing one another, as the ...read more

Statement on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing

November 2, 2019 • Posted in Blog
The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture responds to the Public Call for Evidence for the International Commission* on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing

 

Given that According to the canons of research on children, experiments are only ethically justified when there are clear benefits to that individual child and proportional burdens to that child. Risks and burdens beyond truly “minimal” to individual children are not justified to benefit other children. To do so is to treat one child as a means to another child’s ends (i.e., to instrumentalize that child).

 

Whereas Human germline genome editing is experimentation on embryonic humans who cannot give consent, ...read more

A Moratorium on Heritable Human Genome Editing: Illusory or Real?

May 31, 2019 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

In March, 2019, Nature published a commentary penned by Eric Lander, Françoise Baylis, Feng Zhang, Emmanuelle Charpentier, and Paul Berg, and signed by 13 other notables. The name of the commentary is “Adopt a moratorium on heritable genome editing.” This document requires analysis.

First, some definitions are needed. A moratorium is defined as a “suspension of activity,” or “an authorized period of delay or waiting.” Heritable means “capable of being passed from one generation to the next.” Additionally, clinical can refer to a “scientifically detached” attitude or “the observation and treatment of patients directly.” Each of ...read more

First Human Embryos Edited in U.S.: A Bright Red Line Is Crossed

July 28, 2017 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

“Sooner than we expected”: A friend – a scientist steeped in the bioethics realm – wrote to me of her surprise at the announcement of the first embryonic humans edited in the United States. Steve Connor, writing in the MIT Technology Review, reported the work on 26 July 2017.  Doubtless, the publication of the work in a scientific journal will follow.

The article, “First human embryos edited in U.S.” by Steve Connor, describes the process thusly: “A person familiar with the research says ‘many tens’ of human IVF embryos were created for the experiment using the ...read more

It Has Arrived: Gene Editing Recommendations Published

February 28, 2017 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

The committee appointed to advise our government regarding the editing of genes, including editing the genes of the human embryo, has published a draft report (see the title page screen shot above). We at The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture are studying the document’s 261 pages, and have a few caveats to share with our readers. Germline gene editing was given cautious approval by the committee:

Heritable germline genome editing trials must be approached with caution, but caution does not mean they must be prohibited. (p. 102)

and

If the technical challenges are ...read more

CRISPR — Who’s in Charge? (Part IV)

November 30, 2016 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

This is part IV of our report. View part I, part II, or part III.

The ability to edit genes using CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) has been in the news for more than a year. A committee has been appointed to advise our government regarding the editing of genes, particularly editing the genes of the human embryo.

Who are the members of that committee? What are their views? The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture has been working to gather information for you, our readers.

Here is a brief look at some of the writings and organizational ...read more

CRISPR — Who’s in Charge? (Part III)

October 29, 2016 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

This is part III of our report. View part I, part II, or part IV.

The ability to edit genes using CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) has been in the news for more than a year. A committee has been appointed to advise our government regarding the editing of genes, particularly editing the genes of the human embryo.

Who are the members of that committee? What are their views? The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture has been working to gather information for you, our readers.

Here is a brief look at some of the writings and organizational ...read more

CRISPR — Who’s in Charge? (Part II)

September 30, 2016 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

This is part II of our report. View part I, part III, or part IV.

The ability to edit genes using CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) has been in the news for more than a year. A committee has been appointed to advise our government regarding the editing of genes, particularly editing the genes of the human embryo.

Who are the members of that committee? What are their views? The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture has been working to gather information for you, our readers.

Here is a brief look at some of the writings and organizational ...read more

CRISPR — Who’s in Charge? (Part I)

August 31, 2016 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

This is part I of our report. View part II, part III, or part IV.

The ability to edit genes using CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) has been in the news for more than a year. A committee has been appointed to advise our government regarding the editing of genes, particularly editing the genes of the human embryo.

Who are the members of that committee? What are their views? The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture has been working to gather information for you, our readers. This is part I of our report.

On 16 June 2015, ...read more

Bioethics “Reading List” — Summer 2016

June 30, 2016 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

History, U.S., recent

Letter from Representative Marsha Blackburn, chair of the Committee of Energy and Commerce’s Select Investigative Panel investigating fetal tissue procurement in the United States, to New Mexico’s Attorney General, Hector H. Balderas, Jr., included the notebook of a laboratory technician, who recorded the following:

See pages 9-10/291 of the document, as well as “attachment 28.”

Instead of history, however, the request for “whole, fixed brains” (human, fetal) for summer campers to dissect should be classified under HORROR.

Technology

A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) “Intelligent robot that ‘remembers and learns’ could be scrapped after escaping a lab for a second time,” ...read more