In Bioethics, the Public Deserves More Than a Seat at the Table

Parmin Sedigh in Undark:

In August 2022, two research groups published papers in Nature and Cell that demonstrated scientists’ newfound ability to create synthetic mouse embryos in the laboratory until 8.5 days post-fertilization — no egg cells, sperm cells, or wombs needed. The outcry was immediate: If this can be done with mice, are humans next?

Scientists were quick to ease the public’s worries: It’s not yet possible to create synthetic human embryos. Yet their response was concerning. Why did we need to wait until such a scientific advance to occur before we could discuss its implications? How can we have important discussions about bioethical issues — issues at the intersection of ethics and biological research — that already impact society?

More here.