With the help of a new gene editing tool known as CRISPR, a team of researchers in Portland, Ore., recently created the first genetically modified human embryo that corrected defective genes that cause inherited diseases. This is the first time scientists in the United States have created designer embryos; China has led the way in genetically modified human embryos with several published papers on the subject. The CRISPR tool is a type of “molecular scissors” that gives scientists the ability to make precise edits of single strands of DNA quickly and cheaply. No doubt, many will hail this breakthrough as a scientific marvel. But what about the ethical issues? If someone can modify an embryo to prevent disease, then what about making other modifications? And what of the thousands of embryos used to create the genetic modifications that are destroyed in the process? Many Christian ethicists worry that anytime we play God, a potentially good thing can turn sour. For instance, the same technology that could improve human life could also bring unexpected mutations or even produce biological weapons.
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