Addressing the International Legal Challenges of Genetic Engineering

Thanks to rapid advances in genetic technology, scientists can give cells cancer-fighting capabilities and improve athletic performance with genes that help build muscle faster. But this new gene editing technology raises serious ethical concerns. In a recent keynote at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, legal scholar Gary Marchant argued that the international community can respond to these ethical concerns by taking steps to unify the regulation of genetic engineering. Marchant, a professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, explained that the government strictly regulates genetic engineering in the United States due to prevailing social norms. For instance, according to Marchant, federal law prohibits the use of government funds to support research that makes changes to human embryo DNA. Similarly, social norms discourage the use of gene therapy for physical enhancement, such as seeking to make basketball players taller. Yet…

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