The Corner

Here Come Three-Parent Children

The UK’s rubber stamp Embryology Authority is on the verge of allowing “three-parent” children to be born. From the Nature story:

The United Kingdom may soon become the first country to explicitly permit the birth of children from embryos modified to contain three people’s DNA. At the same time, new research backs up concerns that such a treatment — which aims to erase diseases transmitted by the DNA found in cellular structures called mitochondria — may not always be 100% effective.

This is a huge thing.

Allowing children to be created in this manner constitutes (in my view) unethical human experimentation. It is impossible to know what the life-long health and capacities impact will be on these future people–who will have been made from (essentially) broken eggs. 

Moreover, the social implications are huge. As often happens with Brave New World technologies, the pretext for these experiments is health, in this case, allowing a woman to give birth and not pass on mitochondrial disease.

But this technology will also open the door to creating novel family structures and a means of genetic engineering–currently on the fast track of scientific study.

And yet, we aren’t even taking the time to pause and have a societal conversation about any of this and how or whether to regulate the parameters of such human gnomic manipulations.

We are supine before the hurricane of naked science’s power.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Other Case against Reparations

Reparations are an ethical disaster. Proceeding from a doctrine of collective guilt, they are the penalty for slavery and Jim Crow, sins of which few living Americans stand accused. An offense against common sense as well as morality, reparations would take from Bubba and give to Barack, never mind if the former ... Read More
Politics & Policy

May I See Your ID?

Identity is big these days, and probably all days: racial identity, ethnic identity, political identity, etc. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into the human cake. Only the consciously, persistently religious, or spiritual, transcend it, I suppose. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor ... Read More

White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More


Someone tweeted this cartoon today, which apparently is intended to depict me. A few thoughts: I love the caricature. It’s really good. I may steal the second panel and use it for advertising. I hear this line of criticism fairly often from people who are not very bright or well-informed; in truth, I ... Read More