Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you will not see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

In the wake of concern raised about the ethics and risks of performing genetic interventions in macaque monkeys to study models of human neuropsychiatric conditions, Professor Andrew Parker analyses how decision makers evaluate these situations and highlights the ethical consequences if research is not carried out.

As Darwin identified, genetic modification defines who and what we are biologically. In recent years, the technology of molecular biology has brought genetic modification under direct experimental control. We no longer have to wait for selective breeding to bring about changes in the genomes of ourselves or other organisms.

Andrew ParkerWhilst many experimental and translational programmes of research have employed this new technology, there was an unusual degree of outcry when a number of Chinese scientists successfully made somatic cell interventions in macaque monkeys. The technology is very similar to that used widely in DPAG for interventions in mice and flies.

In a new article, Professor Andrew Parker attempts to analyse some of the reasons why there was this degree of protest. In doing so, he also seeks to probe the ethical basis of judgements made by regulatory authorities. "I suggest there are fundamental weaknesses in the so-called “precautionary principle”, which is often advanced to justify the actions of review panels and administrative authorities." (Prof Parker).

"The ethical cost of doing nothing" is available to read in the National Science Review.

 

 

Similar stories

New research to radically alter our understanding of synaptic development

Publication Research

A new study from the Molnár group on the role of regulated synaptic vesicular release in specialised synapse formation has made it to the cover of Cerebral Cortex.

Being "in the zone": how waking activity controls sleep need

Publication Research Vyazovskiy Group News

A new study from the Vyazovskiy group suggests that how and where we spend our time while awake impacts how much we need to sleep - it does not only depend on how long we are awake.

New target identified to develop treatment for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Cardiac Theme Publication Research

A new study from the Smart group has shed light on a key regulatory step in the initiation and progression of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm by revealing the protective role of a previously little known small protein.

Researcher publishes children's book of the brain

Postdoctoral Publication

Betina Ip, a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow based in NDCN, formerly a postdoctoral research scientist in DPAG, has written a book for children: The Usborne Book of the Brain and How it Works.

Drug trial that could improve respiratory recovery from COVID-19 now underway

Research

A clinical trial has commenced this week to test whether a drug called almitrine can help people who are seriously ill with COVID-19 to recover from the disease.