By Dan Miller
Human gene editing is illegal in the United States. Our Congress has barred the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from considering clinical trials of human embryo editing, and the National Institute of Health (NIH) has prohibited funding of this type of research.
The National Academies of Sciences (NAS) issued a press release in 2017 stating that “With Stringent Oversight, Heritable Germline Editing Clinical Trials Could One Day Be Permitted for Serious Conditions; Non-Heritable Clinical Trials Should Be Limited to Treating or Preventing Disease or Disability at This Time.” The scientific research community is by far the least regulated industry, next only to the abortion industry. They self-police.
In a New York Times article dated November 26th, 2018 – the world learned of a Chinese research scientist, Dr. He Jiankui, who claimed at the International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong, to have created the world’s first genetically edited babies, twin girls who were born earlier that November. A firestorm of international criticism ensued from the media and the scientific community, condemning him for moving too quickly and without proper scientific protocols.
Dr. He’s goal was to disable the gene linked with HIV. Dr. He has moved so quickly on this, China wasn’t even sure if he had broken any of their laws, to which they halted his work, put him under house arrest and opened an investigation to find out.
Fast forward to April 16th, 2019. In less than two years, researchers here in the United states are taking advantage of that loophole created by the NAS. Read here to see how quickly the United States has jumped on board in the interests of finding a cure to cancer. Will advances in this type of editing bring about inequities because only the rich will be able to afford it? Will this be a cancer cure for all, or for only the wealthy? Will this bring about the onset of creating perfect “designer babies?” It’s a brave new world, but we need to be a part of this discussion! Personhood legislation would alleviate much of the gray area regarding research. If it involves a pre-born human being, it would be unlawful to experiment on him or her.