On February 11th, the Bioethics Institute hosted a symposium titled The Ethics of Germline Modification. The evening consisted of three 20-minute lectures centered around the cutting edge of genetics. The first lecture was from Bioethicist, and Bioethics Institute Director Dr. Roberto Dell'Oro, who introduced gene editing in his talk titled, Uneasy Journey of Embryo Experimentation. Dr. Dell’Oro began his discussion with the 2018 groundbreaking news of the first HIV resistant babies. The genetically edited babies were a product of Dr. He of Shenzhen University in China and rang the moral alarm among the global bioethical and scientific communities. Dr. Dell’Oro continued by outlining and exploring the intersectionality of the ethics in medical research and the ethics of artificial reproduction technologies (ART).
The second lecture was from health law attorney, Jennifer Gumer, who spoke to The Ethics of Germline Modification. Professor Gumer’s discussion parsed out the question of whether the gene-editing science technique can truly be contained to therapeutic uses. She traversed the principlist distinctions of nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice in the treatment of replacing and editing disease-related genes, the desire and demand for personal and neonatal enhancement, and the democratization of the science. The third lecturer was legal expert, Cesare Romano J.D., who focused on the international context of this controversial new technology. His lecture was titled, The International Regulation of Human Germline Genome Modification. Professor Romano highlighted the regulatory environment and substantive provisions in Intergovernmental Organizations active on Human Genome Modification such as; UNESCO, WHO, UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council.
Click below to watch full lecture.