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An expert on neurobiology has expressed concerns over the direction of gene editing and embryonic research, and the quest for designer babies, warning that it “raises enormous problems.”
At a Veritas Forum event held Friday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University neurobiologist William Hurlbut explained that there were several ethical concerns being raised with the latest developments in gene editing.
Realm - Life - Questions - Hurlbut
“We’re moving into the realm of technologically altered human life; [it] raises profound questions,” Hurlbut said to those gathered.
Hurlbut noted that there are questions not only on “the modification of human embryos for therapy,” but also on the “use of modification of human embryos for inquiring into the very nature of developmental biology.”
Age - Uses - Embryos - Technology - Principles
“In this age, there are many uses we could make of human embryos with this new technology. We’re going to have to decide what our principles are,” continued Hurlbut, who stated four questions that he believed were key to the ethics debate.
“Will we now endorse the use of human embryos for a wide range of studies for infertility and early development? … Will we allow the creation of embryos specifically for research purposes? … How many embryos would it be okay to use in research? [And] will we allow research on embryos beyond 14 days, and if so for how long?”
Question - Hurlbut - Reference - Rule - Countries
That last question posed by Hurlbut was in reference to the ethical rule practiced by several countries of not allowing research on human embryos for more than 14 days.
In addition to Hurlbut, the event also featured a presentation by Massachusetts Institute of Technology genetic biologist Rudolf Jaenisch and included a conversation among the experts that was moderated by MIT mechanical engineering associate professor Cullen Buie.
Discussion - Segment - Event - Hurlbut - Qualms
During the discussion segment of the event, Hurlbut said he has "big qualms" about embryo research, fearing that it doesn't have...
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