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Scientists Call for Moratorium to Block Gene-Edited Babies

An international group of researchers, including some inventors of the popular gene-editing tool Crispr, called for a world-wide moratorium on editing DNA in human sperm, eggs and embryos to prevent births of genetically modified babies.

The group of 18 scientists said in a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature that a moratorium would prevent irresponsible use of the technology before it causes irreversible changes, especially after a researcher in China announced last November he produced the first genetically modified babies.

The reported births made it clear that “previous statements didn’t go far enough and they could go farther and now is the time to say so,” Eric Lander, one of the lead authors of the paper and president of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, said in an interview.

Yet other scientists refused to join the call, a sign researchers disagree about how best to balance encouraging research into the technology’s potential while deterring irresponsible use.

Opinions even divided some of Crispr’s closest collaborators, while bringing together some rivals.




UC Berkeley



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