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.

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