STAT

Opinion: ‘Three Identical Strangers’: It’s not too late to address the ethical violations

Those harmed by an unethical 1960s study that separated twins and triplets should be helped to seek answers. This work shouldn't be left to documentary filmmakers, journalists, and the subjects…

Surprise turns to shock and then outrage. That’s the theme of “Three Identical Strangers,” a documentary film released last summer and now being screened by CNN. The film also has a less well-known precursor, “The Twinning Reaction.” Both chronicle twins and triplets born in the 1960s who were separated as infants and adopted by different families who had no idea of the other siblings’ existence.

The separation and secrecy were unethical aspects of an experiment that sought to examine the contributions of genetics and environment to child development. The children (who are now adults), their families, and the public deserve answers to many unanswered questions.

Although some aspects of the research over the ensuing decades, clear information about its aims, design, and results have never been published. The study records reside at Yale, where they were deposited by the lead researcher, Dr. Peter Neubauer, and . No one — not the subjects, reporters, filmmakers, or researchers — has been

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from STAT

STAT9 min readScience
The ‘Unbelievable Journey’ Of CRISPR, Now On Netflix
"Unnatural Selection," a four-part docuseries debuting today, dissects the stories, science, and ethics behind genome editing.
STAT5 min read
Competitor Accuses 23andMe Of ‘False Negatives’ In Cancer-gene Testing
23andMe is pushing back hard on a new study from a competitor that accuses the company of 'false negatives' in its cancer-gene testing.
STAT4 min read
Opinion: As The Need For Organ Transplants Grows, The Number Of Transplant Physicians Dwindles
Medical training has been long been characterized as a "grand bargain" in which trainees make personal sacrifices with the expectation of a better life later. But that's a deal many…