With scientists genetically editing embryos, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is pushing for international ethical standards for gene-editing and offering more warnings about communist China.
On Monday, Rubio threw his support behind U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s, D-Calif., proposal to back such standards. U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI, joined Rubio as a cosponsor of the resolution.
The senators pointed to China’s announcement that scientists had genetically edited embryos which resulted in the birth of two infants.
“As we continue to develop groundbreaking therapies to prevent and cure diseases, it’s clear that gene-editing has incredible potential,” Rubio said. “However, there are dangerous and unethical ramifications if countries perform unrestricted and unethical experiments on humans to advance the science of gene-editing. There has been global outcry in response to unethical gene-editing experiments, and scientists have warned of the potential long-term consequences that could impact generations. As we move forward, it’s vital that the United States lead the way in creating ethical standards for gene-editing research.”
“Gene editing is a powerful technology that has the potential to lead to new therapies for devastating and previously untreatable diseases,” Feinstein said. “However, like any new technology, there is potential for misuse. The international community must establish standards for gene-editing research to develop global ethical principles and prevent unethical researchers from moving to whichever country has the loosest regulations.”
Now in his second term in the Senate, Rubio has increasingly urged tougher action against China, including cracking down on espionage efforts and companies connected to the communist regime leading that Asian nation.
The resolution was sent to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on which Rubio sits, on Monday. So far, there is no counterpart to the resolution over in the U.S. House.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.