César Palacios-González

Press Release: ISSCR Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Clinical Translation

Response to the: ISSCR Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Clinical Translation

“The new ISSCR guidelines provide a much welcomed framework for research that many find ethically contentious.

Genome editing, the creation of human gametes in a lab, and the creation of human/non-human chimeras raise fundamental ethical issues that scientists can no longer overlook. The ISSCR guidelines put this research front and centre, making it now impossible for scientists to ignore the important ethical issues that they face. The guidelines also show why ethics must be an integral part of the education of scientists working in these areas.

However, there is a problem with how the guidelines justify that human heritable genome editing should not be permitted at this moment in time. Their main point is that reproductive human heritable genome editing ‘raise[s] unresolved ethical issues’. This is problematic because one could use this same justification for stopping all stem cell research.”

Dr César Palacios-González, Senior Research Fellow in Practical Ethics, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford

 

Further Research:

Read more about the ethics of chimera, in vitro gametogenesis, and stem cell research:

Chimeras intended for human gamete production: an ethical alternative?Reproductive biomedicine online (2017)35(4), 387-390. [Palacios-González, César.]

Reproductive genome editing interventions are therapeutic, sometimesBioethics (2021). [Palacios‐González, César. ]

The regulation of mitochondrial replacement techniques around the worldAnnual review of genomics and human genetics 21 (2020): 565-586. [Cohen, I. Glenn, Eli Y. Adashi, Sara Gerke, César Palacios-González, and Vardit Ravitsky]

Human dignity and the creation of human–nonhuman chimerasMedicine, Health Care and Philosophy 18, no. 4 (2015): 487-499. [Palacios-González, César]

Multiplex parenting: in vitro gametogenesis and the generations to comeJournal of Medical Ethics 40, no. 11 (2014): 752-758. [Palacios-González, César, John Harris, and Giuseppe Testa]

Heritable Human Genome Editing Can Cure or Prevent Diseases

By César Palacios-González

@CPalaciosG 

More than a year after the fallout from He Jiankui’s announcement to the world that he had edited human embryos in order to made them resistant to HIV, the debate on whether we should move ahead with heritable human genome editing has given no signs of slowing down. For example, just a couple of days ago the UK House of Lords was debating this issue, and the WHO’s advisory committee on genome editing is running a consultation on the governance framework that should rule over human genome editing. While there are many ethical questions surrounding human genome editing, there is a question that recently has gained prominence: is heritable human genome editing therapeutic? Continue reading

Planting Trees, Search Engines, and Climate Change

Written by César Palacios-González

The other day I went down an internet rabbit hole when researching about planting trees and climate change. I came out the other side concluding (among other things) that there were good reasons to change my search engine to Ecosia[1]. So I did, and, other things being equal, you should too. If you have never heard of Ecosia this is the main gist: it is a search engine that uses its profits from search ad revenue to help fund tree planting projects around the world. Now let me explain how I came to this conclusion. But before I begin, I think it’s important to clarify something. Climate change is a political problem that requires a political solution. But I think this is no way negates that individual actions matter in terms of fighting its effects. Continue reading

Human In Vitro Gametogenesis and the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

Written by César Palacios-González

It seems that in the not-so-distant future, scientists will be able to create functional human gametes (i.e. eggs and sperm) in a laboratory setting. In other words, they will be able to create human gametes outside of the human body. And just as there is in vitro fertilization (IVF), there will be in vitro gametogenesis (IVG). This means that our already long list of human reproductive acronyms –IVF, PGD, ICSI, PNT, PBT1, PBT2, MST, UTx, CT, etc.–  will get a bit longer. At present, some of the best biology labs from around the world are actively working on how to achieve such goal, and non-human animal models have shown some amazing results.

For starters, scientists have successfully derived in a laboratory setting mouse oocyte-like cells and sperm-like cells from induced pluripotent stem cells and embryonic stem cells. And, most surprisingly, they have been able to create what has been called “cross-sex gametes”. This means that they have been able to create sperm-like cells from female mice, and oocyte-like cells from male mice (I use the terms ‘sperm-like’ and ‘oocyte-like’ because these cells are not identical to naturally occurring gametes). Some of such cross-sex gametes have, in turn, been capable of producing live offspring. Continue reading

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