genetic testing, blood test, genetics , faith, Catholic

Before you read the article linked below, remember that the key words are before implanting.

A report published in Thursday’s issue of The Independent claims that a new breakthrough in genetics research will allow scientists to engineer parts of the human genome with “extreme precision.”

The upside of the new technique, the report states, is that it can lead to the treatment of serious conditions such as cancer, HIV and inherited genetic disorders. It also could have vast implications for agriculture in relation to genetically engineered foods.

The possible harmful effects of eating genetically modified food and livestock is fodder for another blog post.  What I want to zero in on in this post is the expectation that this new technique, known as Crispr, could be used to eliminate certain genetic diseases such as Down’s Syndrome and Huntington’s Disease by altering an embryo before implanting it in the mother’s womb.

It’s one thing to cure a disease; it’s another to defy natural law.

The Church warns against reproductive technology that interferes with God’s plan for human sexuality and procreation. There’s a good reason for that. When we begin to believe that we have the right to tamper with the procreation of human life, we stop believing in God as the sole Creator.

Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to see anybody born with chronic or life-threatening disease. It’s no fun – I know from the experiences of my own family members and many close friends.

The red flag for me raised when I read about using Crispr to alter embryos intended for in vitro fertilization. First, IVF is against Church teaching. Beyond that, as I wrote in my article on this topic for Our Sunday Visitor in the October 13, 2013 issue, we must exercise the utmost care in administering techniques that lead us away from trust in God’s providence.

If we can engineer disease-free human beings, will we seek to engineer human beings to fit other stipulations? Looks? Intelligence? Skill sets?

Like modified foods, will we one day have modified people?

Advances like Crispr require a high moral standard lest they spiral out of control. By all means, we should explore God’s amazing world. But by no means can we ever forget that it actually belongs to, and is ruled by, him and him alone.

Here’s the link to the report:


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