Ethics

Opinion Piece: Morally, Is Germline Genome Editing all that Different to IVF?

Helen C. O’Neill has explored how the global reaction to the birth of genome-edited twins in 2018 echoed the condemnation surrounding the first successful use of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) in 1978. Now regarded as a huge clinical success which has benefitted an estimated 16 million parents, at the time the development not only sparked moral outrage but led to political and legislative constraints.

George Church Robustly Defends his “DNA Dating App”

George Church of Harvard University has been under heavy scrutiny after news broke out of a new “DNA Dating App” he has been involved in developing, during a recent interview with 60 minutes. The news has led to a significant backlash from some quarters, including from some within the genomics community, that the app is unethical and represents a form of eugenics.

Interview with Arianne Shahvisi, Senior Lecturer in Ethics

Arianne Shahvisi is a Senior Lecturer in Ethics at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. We managed to have a chat with Arianne ahead of her speaking at the Festival in Genomics, to get her take on the ‘coloniality’ of health and how the much-hyped advent of Whole Genome Sequencing might play a role in exasperating social injustices.

Interview with Arianne Shahvisi, Senior Lecturer in Ethics

Arianne Shahvisi is a Senior Lecturer in Ethics at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. We managed to have a chat with Arianne ahead of her speaking at the Festival of Genomics, to get her take on the ‘coloniality’ of health and how the much-hyped advent of Whole Genome Sequencing might play a role in exasperating social injustices.

Jennifer Doudna Comments on CRISPRs Unwanted Anniversary

One year on from the birth of world’s first CRISPR-edited babies in China, Jennifer Doudna, writes in Science what this and the ensuing controversy has meant for the field and society’s perception of the technology, as well as to outline what should be done next.

George Church’s Startup Testing Pig Organs in Primates

eGenesis has announced that it is now testing pig organs on primates to see if they safe for human use. If successful, this practice could solve the current shortage of human organs for transplantation. The company has declared that the pig organs are the most highly engineered ever created by surgeons.

Russian Scientist Plans to CRISPR-Edit More Babies

Russian biologist Denis Rebrikov has announced his intentions to produce further gene-edited babies, ignoring the scientific consensus that this should not be done until an ethical framework is constructed to regulate the science involved. Rebrikov’s plans could occur before the end of the year if he receives approval in time.

CRISPR Twins’ Lives Could Be Shortened by Two Years

He Jiankui, the Chinese scientist who created the first gene-edited twin children last year, could have unknowingly shortened their lives by more than 1.9 years. A study into the DNA and death records of 400,000 volunteers in the UK Biobank found the genetic mutations to gene CCR5 were “of quite strong effect.”

Genomic Innovations Will Bring Increased Legal Action

Questions around legality, protecting privacy and ensuring quality of data in DNA sequencing all need answering, a symposium recently held at the University of Minnesota has announced. LawSeq, a $2 million project looking to solve the issue of privacy and legality in sequencing, is exploring how to ensure the legal world catches up with current science.

WHO to Create Gene Editing Expert Panel

The World Health Organization is establishing an expert panel to set guidelines and standards on the ethical and safety issues of gene editing, the body has announced. This follows the recent revelation that a scientist in China claimed he had edited the genes of twin babies to make them HIV resistant.