Perspectives on Gene Editing image

Harvard Gazette, January 9, 2019
by Mary Todd Bergman, quoting I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)

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From the article:

"Progress in this field has been so rapid that the dialogue around potential ethical, societal, and safety issues is scrambling to catch up.

This disconnect was brought into stark relief at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, held in Hong Kong in November, when exciting updates about emerging therapies were eclipsed by a disturbing announcement. He Jiankui, a Chinese researcher, claimed that he had edited the genes of two human embryos, and that they had been brought to term.

There was immediate outcry from scientists across the world, and He was subjected to intense social pressure, including the removal of his affiliations, for having allegedly disregarded ethical norms and his patients’ safety.

Yet as I. Glenn Cohen, faculty director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, has said, gene editing comes in many varieties, with many consequences. Any deep ethical discussion needs to take into account those distinctions." 

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