Blog Posts (43)
May 14, 2015
Joe Gibes (May 9) and Steve Phillips (May 13) took up the challenge I posted last week: to address whether human germline gene editing, even in a hypothetically-narrow example case, is morally unacceptable in some intrinsic sense, and therefore something that ought never be attempted or, for that matter, pursued in the laboratory. If you have not read their posts, please do so. To come... // Read More »
May 8, 2015
In a comment last week, Mark McQuain pointed out the article “Engineering the Perfect Baby” in the MIT Technology Review. Freely accessible online, it describes, in non-technical terms, several of the routes that genetic editing may follow. Perhaps the most explosive: adult skin cell transformed into an induced pleuripotent stem cell that then is used to give rise to germ cells that are then genetically... // Read More »
May 6, 2015
I appreciate Courtney and Jon expressing their thoughts on the issue of human germline modification and the references to C. S. Lewis’s book, The Abolition of Man. My thoughts on this are more extensive than I can put in a blog post. I expressed those thoughts several years ago in a paper presentation at the CBHD summer conference. If you are interested in my extended... // Read More »
April 30, 2015
The recently-public discussion of gene editing has been going on for over a month now. I have been meaning to try to catch up with some of it. Tuesday’s post by Courtney Thiele got there first. This post will attempt to amplify a bit on what Courtney wrote. As Courtney pointed out, the technology involves making selective genetic changes of interest, including, but clearly not... // Read More »
April 16, 2015
A couple of writings by Gregory Kaebnick, the editor of the Hastings Center Report, have my attention these days, and I hope to deal with them in my next few posts. For the moment, I intend to seize on one point he makes in “Engineered Microbes in Industry and Science,” his chapter in a book he co-edited with Thomas Murray, 2013’s Synthetic Biology and Morality. ... // Read More »
April 13, 2015
Note: The Bioethics Program blog is moving to its new home on April 1, 2015. Be sure to change your bookmarks to http://bioethics.uniongraduatecollege.edu/blog/ by Courtney Jarboe, Bioethics Program Student In Minnesota, residual dried blood (RDB) samples collected for newborn screening had been stored, retained, and used for research without parental consent. It had been presumed that the Minnesota Department of […]
March 21, 2015
The predominant purpose of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is to select those embryos that are considered healthy or normal. This inevitably means that those that have a genetic abnormality are discarded. Foundational to how one responds to PGD will be their understanding of the personhood of the human embryo. Often, the ethical debate is approached from the assumption that human life at this stage of... // Read More »
March 12, 2015
A common argument by ethicists concerned about the implications of bleeding-edge biotechnologies is an appeal to what is called the “precautionary principle.” This appeal is particularly prominent on the European continent. It attempts to raise concerns about the metaphysical, essential nature of a new technology, as opposed to the more pragmatist (and consequentialist) approach taken in Britain and the U.S. I suppose that split should... // Read More »
March 6, 2015
Saying nothing new, but trying to say it in a different way… One response to ethical problems posed by bleeding-edge biotechnologies is to assert that there are some things that ought not be attempted, some boundaries that ought never be transgressed, regardless of the supposed good that may be envisioned. (I continue to hold that human IVF was one such boundary, but that was definitively... // Read More »
March 1, 2015
Trevor Stammers is our guest blogger for today. Dr. Stammers is the Programme Director for Bioethics and Medical Law at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham in London. Prior to St. Mary’s, he practiced as a family physician for 27 years and was a senior tutor in General Practice at St George’s, University of London. He is also the editor for the multidisciplinary journal The New Bioethics. Thanks... // Read More »
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June 29, 2015 4:03 pm
The US House of Representatives is wading into the debate over whether human embryos should be modified to introduce heritable changes. Its fiscal year 2016 spending bill for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would prohibit the agency from spending money to evaluate research or clinical applications for such products.
June 25, 2015 1:51 pm
The genome of a famous 8,500-year-old North American skeleton, known as Kennewick Man, shows that he is closely related to Native American tribes that have for decades been seeking to bury his bones. The finding, reported today in Nature1, seems likely to rekindle a legal dispute between the tribes and the researchers who want to keep studying the skeleton. Yet it comes at a time when many scientists — including those studying Kennewick Man — are trying to move past such controversies by inviting Native Americans to take part in their research.
June 24, 2015 1:50 pm
The skull in the eroded riverbank belonged to a man with a narrow, projecting face. The archeologist who excavated the bones along the Columbia River near Kennewick, Wash., thought he was looking at the remains of a white man, probably a pioneer. Then further analysis showed the skeleton to be thousands of years old. Confusion reigned. People asked: What was a white man doing in the Pacific Northwest back in the Stone Age?
June 4, 2015 12:36 pm
Genetic tests for breast cancer risk often look for DNA flaws that haven’t been reliably linked to the disease, a new report found, casting doubt on diagnostics that examine dozens of genes to calculate a patient’s susceptibility.
May 27, 2015 3:20 pm
A group of international researchers is making the case that genetic tests that look for multiple hereditary genes suspected of being linked to breast cancer should not be offered until they are proven to be valid and useful in clinical practice.
May 20, 2015 12:32 pm
The leading U.S. scientific organization, responding to concerns expressed by scientists and ethicists, has launched an ambitious initiative to recommend guidelines for new genetic technology that has the potential to create “designer babies.”
May 19, 2015 3:20 pm
The debate over human “gene editing” has moved onto the national stage with a prestigious institute announcing it will hold an international summit this fall to create voluntary standards to guide the use of the controversial technology, first conceived by UC Berkeley molecular biologist Jennifer Doudna.
May 18, 2015 3:10 pm
Patients often die before their 40s as mucus clogs and damages their lungs and leaves them prone to infection.
May 12, 2015 7:06 pm
The seasons appear to influence when certain genes are active, with those associated with inflammation being more active in the winter, according to new research released Tuesday.
May 6, 2015 2:25 pm
When I was a biology grad student in the early 1980s, we used to joke about people who were getting their PhDs by spending six long years sequencing a single gene. They worked around the clock seven days a week – and seven nights, too, sleeping on their lab benches when they slept at all. – See more at: http://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2015/05/06/stanford-panel-big-issues-will-loom-when-everyone-has-their-genomic-sequence-on-a-thumb-drive/#sthash.xNXqlUTK.dpuf
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