CLI Scientists Respond to Letter on Genetically Modified Children: Not Enough
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 14, 2019
Contact: Nicole Stacy, [email protected], 202-223-8073
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday 18 scientists representing seven countries published a letter calling for a “global moratorium on all clinical uses of human germline editing — that is, changing heritable DNA (in sperm, eggs or embryos) to make genetically modified children.” Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), the research and education arm of Susan B. Anthony List, released the following statement in response:
“This proposal for a temporary moratorium on implanting and gestating gene-edited embryos is disappointingly short-sighted,” said Dr. David Prentice, CLI’s vice president and research director. “Scientifically unsound and ethically problematic experiments on human embryos, including creating gene-edited embryos in the lab and then destroying them, would still be allowed and even encouraged. We call instead for the full prohibition of gene-editing experiments on embryos or germ cells – not just a speed bump.”
Biochemist and CLI Associate Scholar Dr. Tara Sander Lee added, “Germline editing, with immediate plans for research and future plans for clinical trials in pregnancy once the technique is optimized and ‘long-term biological consequences are sufficiently understood,’ clearly remains the goal. How far will we have to go to sufficiently understand those consequences, and at what cost to the children experimented upon? What will happen to them when the experiments fail? A real moratorium is needed to protect vulnerable human beings.”
Prentice has more than four decades of experience in life sciences including stem cells, cloning, cell biology, cell culture, genetics, biotechnology, bioethics, as well as life-related research and policy advising. Sander Lee is a scientist and researcher with 20 years’ experience in academic medicine related to pathologic mechanisms of childhood disease, and scientific consultant with expertise in clinical molecular diagnostics.
Charlotte Lozier Institute was launched in 2011 as the education and research arm of Susan B. Anthony List. CLI is a hub for research and public policy analysis on some of the most pressing issues facing the United States and nations around the world. The Institute is named for a feminist physician known for her commitment to the sanctity of human life and equal career and educational opportunities for women.