MAR 23, 2019 6:12 PM PDT

Researchers Seek to Halt Heritable Gene Editing in Humans

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Several years ago, scientists developed a gene-editing tool inspired by a bacterial defense system. The editor, called CRISPR/Cas9, could make permanent edits to the genome, and as it was unleashed on the global scientific community, it was adapted for use in many different species and refined in other ways. It is able to make edits to the human genome too, including embryos, and while that was once thought to be an ethical bridge that people weren’t ready to cross, a scientist recently announced that twins had been born after their genomes were edited using the CRISPR tool.

Related: Researcher Claims to Have Genetically Engineered Human Babies

Now, scientists that developed CRISPR and other researchers have sounded the alarm, calling “for a global moratorium on all clinical uses of human germline editing — that is, changing heritable DNA (in sperm, eggs or embryos) to make genetically modified children.”

They don’t necessarily want to ban this technology forever, but rather, create a framework in which it can be regulated after discussing the many issues that are at play, including ethics and medical needs.

Source: Nature

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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