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unborn children gene-editing...moral?


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1) CRISPR Cas9 isn't well regulated enough to ensure that off-target DNA damage doesn't occur throughout the babies' genomes. We use CRISPR kits on bacteria and have trouble with off target cut sites... when I first heard this story I thought it was a hoax because I believed the likelihood of a CRISPR engineered human embryo being viable was too low. These babies probably have a bunch of uncontrolled, unexpected mutations with as to be realized consequences. 

2) There are preventative AIDS vaccines in advanced stages of clinical trial. There was very little reason to gene edit humans to prevent HIV infection given there is a vastly safer route to immunity pretty close to realization. 

3) The actual motivation for modifying these babies may have been to enhance their cognitive function: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612997/the-crispr-twins-had-their-brains-altered/ This moves from the realm of using gene editing to prevent/cure disease, to the realm of gene editing for enhancement. 

In this case, it was pretty damn irresponsible, the motives are questionable, and widely condemned. As for the general question I think the answer is dependent on whether you are trying to prevent/cure disease, or if you are producing designer babies. 


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