Recently some Chinese scientists published a paper talking about genetic engineering of human zygotes (fertilized egg cells): CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human tripronuclear zygotes (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13238-015-0153-5). You can read the entire paper online at that link. Unsurprisingly, this got a big news reaction here in north america, check it out: arstechnica (http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/04/research-team-edits-the-dna-of-fertilized-human-embryos/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+arstechnica%2Findex+%28Ars+Technica+-+All+content%29), hplusmagazine (http://hplusmagazine.com/2015/04/23/the-transhuman-age-is-here-but-not-quite-yet-crisprcas9-used-to-modify-human-embryos/), io9 (http://io9.com/scientists-make-history-by-genetically-modifying-human-1699681875), business insider (http://www.businessinsider.com/chinese-scientists-genetic-modification-human-embryo-crispr-2015-4), nature (http://www.nature.com/news/chinese-scientists-genetically-modify-human-embryos-1.17378), etc.
Let's talk about it. Issues we can discuss include:
- technical details of the actual thing which was done
- discussion about WHO did it, what the scientists want, the institutions that support them, and why. Compare the Chinese situation to that in the USA and the UK.
- discussion of the ethics of human genetic engineering, as compared to for instance couples choosing their mates, or things like China's one-child policy, or eugenics.
- wide-ranging discussion of the future of humans and genetic engineering.