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A Chinese scientist's claims to have created the world's first genetically edited babies have injected a new sense of urgency into the discussions about ethics and social and personal responsibility surrounding the capacity to create and genetically modify human embryos.In legal theory, "justice" comprises two components: substantive justice, which concerns a law's content and the fairness of its application, and natural or procedural justice, which concerns the fairness and transparency of how decisions are made.In terms of substantive justice, most research ethics protocols are sound; research on human embryos is heavily restricted or banned in most countries. But when it comes to natural justice the record is decidedly mixed. Various national and international courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States and the European Court of Human Rights, invite public input in the form of amicus curiae briefs.We propose that a similar process be established for research ethics committees considering work with human embryos. One way to instill individual responsibility would be in the form of a personal declaration.
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