Reproductive rights advocate says US should take on genetic engineering

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine's chief advocacy and policy development officer said in an interview that aired Wednesday on "Rising" that the U.S. is taking itself out of genetic exploration by prohibiting certain kinds of genetic engineering. 

"We have great scientists. We have great oversight of science in this country," Sean Tipton told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton in an interview last month. 

"We're taking ourselves out of the game. What happens when you do that is the work is going to be done in other places by other people, who may not have those same kind of oversights," he continued. 

Tipton's comments come after Chinese scientist, He Jiankui, claimed he was able to edit the genes of twin babies in an effort to protect them from HIV.  The scientist said the breakthrough could protect children and their future offspring from genetic diseases such as certain types of cancer and muscular dystrophy. 

The claim has spurred worldwide backlash from critics, however, who say the experiment was unnecessarily risky and may not have been performed properly. 

The Shenzhen City Medical Ethics Expert Board announced last month that it was launching an investigation into the matter. 

Tipton argued that advanced technologies and regulations in the U.S. could give American scientists an opportunity to safely research and experiment with genetic engineering.

"So if you're really worried about this work being done correctly, let our scientists do it," Tipton said. "The FDA [Food and Drug Administration] is prohibited from even entertaining an application about how to do this kind of germline editing that we're talking about. They literally can't even have a secretary accept an application that comes in the door."

— Julia Manchester