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‘Gene editing’ poses threat of eugenics, ethicist warns

August 04, 2017

The director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre in England has raised the alarm about recent experiments in “genetic editing” of human embryos, saying that the procedure involves the acceptance of eugenics.

David Albert Jones remarked that the experiment also involved “the reproductive exploitation of women” who contributed eggs for the research and the “experimentation on and destruction of embryos” in the process.

While the “genetic editing” experiments have been hailed as a means of preventing disease, Jones pointed out that the procedure aims “not to make people better but to make ‘better’ people.” He explained that in the “editing” technique, a modified embryo is created; since the embryo did not exist before the modification, the procedure “cannot be said to be therapy.”

Jones warned: “Instead of treating existing human beings in ways that respect their rights and do not pose excessive risks to them or to future generations, we are manufacturing new human beings for manipulation and quality control, and experimenting on them with the aim of forging greater eugenic control over human reproduction”

 
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