The next round of conversations about gene editing

This blog has carried several posts about the ethical issues surrounding gene editing in humans.  The next round of public discussions is scheduled for next week, Feb. 11-12.

The National Academies of Science and Medicine have been holding meetings to address the state of the science and the attendant ethical issues.  In December, a first meeting was held in Washington, DC.  That meeting produced a brief summary statement endorsing research under “appropriate” ethical and regulatory guidelines and oversight, but stating that clinical applications of human germline gene editing would be “irresponsible” at this time, but “should be revisited on a regular basis,” and be the subject of “an ongoing forum.”  A link to the December meeting’s statement is here.

Next week’s meeting, also in Washington, is open to the public in person or by webcast.  One may register for the webcast by visiting the website for the NAS/NAM consensus study in progress, and following the link to register. 

Additional materials from December’s meeting, including slide sets and recorded video, may be found at the website for the International Summit on Human Gene Editing, and a recent news summary from the Journal of the American Medical Association is available for free here.  Many of the points in that summary have been discussed in prior posts to this blog, and I won’t rehearse them again now, but will watch for new developments next week. 

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Mark McQuain
Mark McQuain
5 years ago

One wonders how much of an impact that the recent UK Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority approval of CRISPR genetic editing on human embryos will have on the US debate. An interesting article supporting similar relaxation of US regulations appeared in Wired Magazine here. Our technology is rapidly outpacing our ethical discussion of the issues involved.