Media ReleaseFrom: Springer Nature
Experts call for moratorium and international governance framework for heritable genome editing in the clinic
Scientists and ethicists from seven countries call for a global moratorium and an international governance framework for all clinical uses of human germline editing in a Comment piece in this week’s Nature.
Eric Lander, Françoise Baylis, Feng Zhang, Emmanuelle Charpentier, Paul Berg and colleagues from seven countries argue that various events over the past three years, including a scientist in China reportedly using germline editing to produce two babies last year, mean a global moratorium and an international governance framework are now warranted. The authors emphasize that this moratorium would not cover germline editing for research purposes only, or editing of somatic cells to treat diseases.
Under the proposed scheme, following “an initial period of fixed duration during which no clinical uses of germline editing whatsoever should be allowed”, nations could then choose whether to permit specific applications. However, nations would proceed “openly and with due respect to the opinions of humankind on an issue that affects the human species” by agreeing not to approve applications without first meeting certain conditions.
“The governance framework we are calling for will place major speed bumps in front of the most adventurous plans to re-engineer the human species,” but the “risks of the alternative — which include harming patients and eroding public trust — are far worse,” the authors conclude.
This press release refers to a Nature Comment piece, not a Nature research paper or article. Comment pieces are topical, authoritative Op-Eds pertaining to scientific research and its ramifications.