Image of CRISPR injection into embryo

Top Scientists Call for Moratorium Blocking Gene-Edited Babies; Critics Want Action

More than a dozen top scientists from seven countries are calling for world governments to adopt a moratorium on what scientists call heritable genome editing.

They’re on a mission to make sure the world doesn’t see any more gene-edited babies — not till we’re good and ready — and they’ve got a plan to stop it.

The group penned a commentary published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The effort was led by Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute and a professor at both MIT and Harvard University.

Lander says the call is in reaction to the recent surprise announcement that a Chinese researcher had experimented with gene editing on actual humans. International scientists were shocked when He Jiankui revealed he’d edited the genes of twin girls who born in China last November.

Heritable genome editing has only recently been possible. It’s when scientists alter the DNA of embryos — human cells that, if implanted in a uterus, will grow into a baby — in a way that permanently alters the DNA of every cell in the body. Changes here would also alter the DNA of generations to come.




UC Berkeley



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