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Trump Ignores Biotech Gorilla in Room

As far as I was concerned, the SOTU speech was a huge success–as far as it went. But I am worried that the president and his administration continue to ignore  the distinct promise and dire threat humanity faces from onrushing biotechnological research. Consider:

  • Scientists have invented a gene editing technique known as CRISPR that allows the easy genetic alteration of any cell or life form on the planet. This technology could be used to prevent horrible human diseases such as Huntington’s or genetically engineer our progeny down the generations. It could help create more sustainable crops or, in the hands of terrorists, unleash an altered viral pandemic against which we would have no immunity. CRISPR is the most powerful technology since we learned to split the atom.
  • Scientists are busily learning how to clone human life. A recent experiment resulted in the birth of two healthy monkey clones. Humans may not be far behind. At stake is whether human beings will be created asexually to be destroyed in research or born as a means of custom ordered procreation.
  • Biotechnologists are experimenting with creating “three-parent” children.
  • Scientists are learning how to create synthetic life with no relationship to Creation or evolution. 
  • Scientists are developing artificial wombs that could be used to save fetuses from miscarriage or gestate cloned fetuses for experimentation or organ harvesting. Researchers have awfully conducted research on living human fetuses before with government funding. We need to make sure that such actions never happen again.

And yet, there is very little indication from the administration that it is even thinking about these portentous issues, much less readying itself to focus the world’s concentrated attention on how to best pursue polices aimed at promoting a biotech century that is both beneficent and benign.

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