Gene editing in human embryos is a moral obligation
Novel gene editing technologies, such as CRISPR/Cas9, allow scientists to make very precise changes in the genome of human embryos. This could prevent serious genetic diseases in future children. But the use of gene editing in human embryos also raises questions: Is it safe? Should prospective parents be free to choose the genetic characteristics of their children? What if they want to use gene editing to have a deaf child, or a child with fair skin and blue eyes? Should gene editing be regulated globally, or should each country have their own legislation?
In this interview with Katrien Devolder, John Harris (Professor Emeritus, University of Manchester & Visiting Professor in Bioethics, King’s College London) answers these and other questions, and defends the view that we have the strongest moral obligation to gene-edit human embryos, not only to prevent disease but also for the purpose of enhancement.
The Practical Ethics Video Series makes the most important and complex debates in practical ethics accessible to a wide audience through brief interviews with high profile philosophers in Oxford. In the series, Katrien Devolder interviews Carissa Véliz, Thomas Douglas, Dominic Wilkinson, Walter Sinnott Armstrong, Jeff McMahan and others on topics such as conscientious objection in medicine, war, privacy, neurointerventions, moral AI.