"Human germline modification" means deliberately changing
the genes passed on to children and future generations – in other words,
creating genetically modified people. Human germline modification has for
many years been widely considered off-limits, for both safety and social
reasons. It is formally prohibited in more than 40 countries.
In recent years, a new generation of genetic engineering techniques,
known as "gene editing" or "genome editing," has
prompted speculation about their use in human embryos or gametes. In
2014, rumors intensified about researchers in the US and China working on
human embryos with the inexpensive, easy-to-use gene-editing tool
CRISPR. In April 2015, a research team at Sun Yat-sen University in China
published a report of an experiment in which they used CRISPR to edit a
gene associated with the blood disease beta- thalassemia in non-viable
The experiments were largely unsuccessful. But as gene editing tools
are refined in labs around the world, they are expected to allow easier,
cheaper, and more accurate insertion or deletion of genes than ever
This controversy marks a new chapter of a profoundly consequential
debate about the future of gene editing in humans. If perfected, somatic
gene editing (or "gene therapy") holds promise for helping
people who are sick, affecting only an individual consenting patient.
But editing the genes of human embryos in order to create genetically
modified people is very different, and raises grave safety, social, and
ethical concerns. These range from the prospect of irreversible harms to
the health of future children and generations, to concerns about opening
the door to new forms of social inequality, discrimination, and conflict.
For more, see Genetically Modified
Humans? Seven Reasons to Say "No" and Human Gene Editing Frequently Asked Questions by the Center for Genetics
- Major Events in 2015
- Policy and Regulation
- Key Articles & Position
- Biopolitical Times Blog
- Center for Genetics and Society
Events in 2015
Policy and Regulation
- Statements by university-based and industry-based researchers and
bioethicists in Nature (March 12, 2015) and Science (April 3, 2015)
warn of rumored human germline modification and make recommendations
about how to respond, proposing different kinds of moratoria.
- Researchers from Sun Yat-sen University report editing the genomes of human embryos in the online journal
Protein & Cell (April 18, 2015).
- Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health,
releases Statement on NIH funding of research using gene-editing
technologies in human embryos (April 29, 2015).
- National Academy of Sciences and National Academy
Medicine Announce Initiative on Human Gene Editing (May 18, 2015). [Initiative homepage]
- White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issues A Note
on Genome Editing (May 26, 2015).
- U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology's
Subcommittee on Research and Technology holds first
congressional hearing on genetically engineered human DNA (June 16,
- The U.S. National Academies of Sciences and Medicine announce two international co-hosts for the International Summit on Human Gene Editing in Washington D.C. on December 1-3: The Royal Society (UK) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (September 14, 2015).
- A team of researchers affiliated with the Francis Crick Institute (London) apply to the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embyrology Authority for a license to begin genome editing research in human embryos (September 17, 2015).
- The International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO updated their Report on the Human Genome recommending a "moratorium on genome editing of the human germline" (October 2, 2015).
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Human Germline Modification National and International Policies
UNESCO, the Council of Europe, and the European Union consider
germline modification as constituting unethical human experimentation and
abuse of human rights. More than 40 countries, not including the United
States, prohibit germline modification by law. In the U.S., proposals for
clinical trials including human germline engineering will not be accepted
at this time by the NIH, and federal legislation prevents government
funding of research involving the creation or destruction of human
- Inheritable Genetic Modification
Policies, BioPolicy Wiki, Center for Genetics and Society
This compendium of country-level policies includes summaries of and
links to legislation addressing human germline modification.
Regulatory Landscape and Integration of Corrective Genome Editing into In
Vitro Fertilization, Motoko Araki and Tetsuya Ishii, Reproductive
Biology and Endocrinology (November 24, 2014)
This article surveys the status of genome editing and its integration
with IVF, and addresses some ethical and social issues that would
be raised when jurisdictions consider whether genome editing-mediated
germline gene correction for preventive medicine should be
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What is Genome Editing?
Genome editing involves inserting, replacing or
removing DNA from a genome. These techniques use biologically engineered
nucleases that function as "molecular scissors" that can cut
the DNA at specified locations in the genome. Several genome-editing
techniques have been developed in recent years, beginning with ZFNs
(zinc-finger nucleases) and TALENs (transcription activator-like effector
nucleases). A significantly less expensive and easier to use technique
known as CRISPR was first widely noted in 2012.
What is CRISPR/Cas9?
CRISPR/Cas9 (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic
Repeats) is the newest, simplest and least expensive genome-editing tool.
CRISPR was first identified in bacteria, where it functions as a defense
against foreign DNA, either viral or plasmid. Cas9 is an associated
protein. The CRISPR/Cas9 system relies on RNA-DNA base
pairing to identify the targeted location in a genome, to produce a
double-strand break in the existing DNA to disable the targeted gene, and to potentially insert new sequences at the point of the double-strand break.
What are ZFNs and
ZFNs (Zinc-Finger Nucleases) and TALENs (Transcription Activator-
Like Effector Nucleases) are other slightly older but still powerful
gene-editing tools. They are composed of programmable, DNA-binding modules
that enable a broad range of genetic modifications by inducing DNA
double-strand breaks at specific genomic locations. In other words, they
allow researchers to "cut out" specific genes, repair a
mutation, or incorporate a new stretch of DNA into a selected
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Articles & Position Statements
- We Can Design Our Descendants. But Should We?, Margaret Somerville, The Globe and Mail [Canada] (December 21st, 2015)
Ethically, we must place the future child at the centre of the decision-making. We must also protect society.
- Gene Editing: Hope, Hype, and Caution, Daniel Callahan, The Hastings Center Bioethics Forum (December 8th, 2015)
the debate on germline gene editing, speculative harms are treated as
fear mongering while speculative benefits are allowed to run wild.
- Future proofing, Editorial Board, Nature (December 8th, 2015)
discussions on human gene editing and climate change should not
sidestep hard decisions on issues that will affect future generations.
- About Us, Without Us: Inclusion in the Threat of Eradication, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Impact Ethics (December 8th, 2015)
Disability rights advocates are still excluded from conversations (such as the International Summit on Human Gene Editing) that involve the survival of our communities.
- Should We Genetically Modify Our Children?, Jessica Cussins, Kennedy School Review (December 7th, 2015)
We need the wisdom of historical, global, and social perspectives to help shape a world that is not merely concerned with what is possible, but also with what is beneficial.
- The Human Germline Genome Editing Debate, Charis Thompson, Impact Ethics (December 4th, 2015)
The range of views expressed at the International Summit on Human Gene Editing underscores the need for broader and more inclusive public discussion.
- Scientists urge caution on human gene editing [cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky], Al Jazeera America (December 4th, 2015)
Ethical questions triggered three days of debate among the scientists, policymakers and ethicists from 20 countries at the Washington, DC summit.
- Human gene editing is a social and political matter, not just a scientific one, Marcy Darnovsky, The Guardian (December 4th, 2015)
The organizing committee kicked the can down the road, leaving the door open for gene editing for human reproduction.
- The major concern about a powerful new gene-editing technique that most people don't want to talk about, Tanya Lewis, Business Insider (December 2nd, 2015)
There's a dark side to manipulating our genetics that few want to discuss: Eugenics, the racist practice of trying to "improve" the human race by controlling genetics and reproduction.
- Genetically engineered children?, Marcy Darnovsky, The Hill (December 1st, 2015)
The powerful new gene editing tools now under consideration in D.C. could be used for scientific and medical breakthroughs, or misused to undermine human rights and human equality.
- US scientists urge ban on human genetic modification [cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks], Ryan Rifai, Al Jazeera (November 30th, 2015)
A new report and sign-on statement argue that genetic modification of children and future generations could have irreversible effects on humanity.
- We Need a Moratorium on Genetically Modifying Humans, Paul Knoepfler, Slate (November 30th, 2015)
The technology for potentially creating designer babies has progressed much faster than the deliberation of societal implications and permissible uses.
- Gene Manipulation In Human Embryos Provokes Ethical Questions, Rahel Gebreyes, HuffPost Live (November 17th, 2015)
Marcy Darnovsky discusses the social implications of leveraging CRISPR
gene editing tools to pursue enhanced children with Josh Zepps, Peter
Singer, Michelle McGowan, Paul Knoepfler, and Antonio Regalado.
- Better Babies, Nathaniel Comfort, Aeon (November 17th, 2015)
The long and peculiar history of the designer human, from Plato’s citizen breeders to Nobel sperm banks, and the latest iteration of human genetic perfectability: CRISPR gene editing.
- Everything you need to know about why CRISPR is such a hot technology, Dominic Basulto, The Washington Post (November 4, 2015) [quoting CGS]
Venture capital is responding to the hype
surrounding new genetic engineering tools, but many are concerned by the
controversial proposition of genetically modifying new humans.
- Would you edit your unborn child's genes so they were successful?, Mairi Levitt, The Guardian (November 3, 2015)
New technology could bring about the much debated
designer baby, but a parent’s desire to do the best for their child
could create sociological problems.
- Human Gene Editing Frequently Asked Questions, Center for Genetics and Society (October 29, 2015)
Should we as a society condone the genetic
modification of future human beings? Here we take on some common
questions about gene editing the human germline.
- NAS Human Gene Editing Meeting: Agenda & Public Participation, Paul Knoepfler, The Niche (October 26th, 2015)
The National Academies have released a draft agenda for the upcoming summit on human gene editing.
- After Asilomar, Editorial, Nature News (October 14th, 2015)
conferences are no longer the best way to resolve debates on
controversial research, and scientists who wish to self-regulate ignore
public outcry at their peril.
- Where in the world could the first CRISPR baby be born?, Heidi Ledford, Nature News (October 13th, 2015)
surveys the legal landscape of 12 countries with well-funded biological
research and finds variety of bans on human genome editing in research
- UNESCO Calls for More Regulations on Genome Editing, DTC Genetic Testing, Staff, GenomeWeb (October 6, 2015)
The organization's International Bioethics Committee released a report recommending a moratorium on genome editing the human germline.
- List of Speakers for NAS Meeting on Human Gene Editing, Paul Knoepfler, Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog (October 1, 2015)
A preliminary list of speakers for the National Academies' international summit on human gene editing has emerged, with troubling lack of diversity.
- Scientists Find Gene Editing with CRISPR Hard to Resist, Cameron Scott, Healthline (September 29, 2015) [quoting Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]
CRISPR, a new technique for editing DNA, is considered so
inexpensive and relatively easy to use, we may be genetically engineering human embryos
before we have time to decide if we should.
- Limits of Responsibility: Genome Editing, Asilomar, and the Politics of Deliberation, J. Benjamin Hurlbut, Hastings Center Report (September 28, 2015)
justifies the notion that CRISPR has caught us off guard or that it is
appropriate for experts to retreat into secluded spaces to define the
parameters of public debate?
- CRISPR Democracy: Gene Editing and the Need for Inclusive Deliberation, J. Benjamin Hurlbut, Krishanu Saha, Sheila Jasanoff, Issues (September 21, 2015)
raises basic questions about the rightful place of science in governing
the future in democratic societies; benevolent references to Asilomar
as a model for public risk assessment obscure the role that science
plays in shaping public understanding of risky behavior.
- British scientists seek to edit the genes of embryos; bioethicists warn of potential dangers, Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post (September 18, 2015) [quoting Marcy Darnovsky]
"troubling and provocative move," the Francis Crick Institute applies
to HFEA to proceed with CRISPR research in human germ cells,
short-circuiting nascent international conversation.
- [UK] Statement on Genome Editing Technologies and Human Germline Genetic Modification [pdf], Hinxton Group (September 9, 2015)
international consortium on stem cells, ethics and law propose a
roadmap to guide the development of safety and efficacy standards
necessary to pursue future "human reproductive applications," and argue
the potential need for "embyros created specifically for research".
- [UK] Initial joint statement on genome editing in human cells [pdf],
Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, Association of Medical
Research Charities, Bioscience for the Future, and Academy of Medical
Sciences (September 2, 2015)
UK medical research funders claim "human genome-editing research should proceed" and push for ethical discussion to explore clinical applications of CRISPR/Cas-9 gene editing research in human germ cells.
- CRISPR: The Latest Biotech Hype, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Boston Review (August 24th, 2015)
What began with an attempt to build a better yogurt now has journalists speculating about Brave New World scenarios, but the bio-hype relies on a false model of genetic determinism.
- Genome Editing: The Age of the Red Pen, The Economist (August 22nd, 2015) [References CGS]
Because it is so simple and easy to use, CRISPR has generated huge excitement in the worlds of molecular biology, medical research, commercial biotechnology.
- Conversation with Kelly Hills: Human Genetic Modification & Bioethics, Paul Knoepfler, Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog
(August 20th, 2015)
An interview with bioethics commentator Kelly Hills tackles some of the key issues surrounding the potential use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to make heritable genetic modifications in humans.
- It's Time for an Uncomfortable Discussion about What it Really Means to Engineer a 'Better Baby', Kevin Loria, Business Insider Australia (August 13th, 2015)
“Humans have more flaws than we know what to do with ... One of them is that we don’t know what it would mean to make a better baby.” [quoting George Annas]
- CRISPR Race Heats Up As Gates, Crossovers Put $120M Into Editas, Ben Fidler, Xconomy (August 10th, 2015)
Some of the biggest names from Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and elsewhere are handing the largest round of funding yet to a CRISPR-Cas9 startup.
- The Power to Remake a
Species, Rebecca Boyle, Future of Life Institute (July 23rd, 2015)
CRISPR could be used with synthetic biology tool "gene drive"
to eliminate malaria-carrying mosquitoes, what are the limits on this
research? Marcy Darnovsky, Center for Genetics and Society calls for
"robust public participation on the use of these very powerful
- Can We
Diseases Without Slipping Into Eugenics?, Nathaniel Comfort,
Nation (July 16, 2015)
CRISPR gene editing could correct genetic mutations for serious
illnesses. Will it also create a new eugenics of personal choice? A rich
historical examination of eugenics in the United States and the social and
political context of this ground-breaking biotechnology.
- Last Scientist in
Congress has Human Genetic Engineering Warning, Bill Foster, The
Hill (July 8th, 2015)
"We are on the verge of a technological breakthrough that could
change the future of humankind; we must not blindly charge ahead."
- CRISPR: Move Beyond Differences, Charis Thompson,
Nature (June 24, 2015)
When scientific developments throw up difficult choices, scientists,
social scientists and others need to stop positioning other people as
being for or against science, or for or against ethics. The National
Academy should establish working groups to study and document at regular
intervals the wide range of phenomena that will shape and be shaped by
gene-editing research – from scientific breakthroughs to health
disparities and disability justice.
Solve It, Daniel Sarewitz, Nature (June 23, 2015)
The idea that the risks, benefits and ethical challenges of these
emerging technologies are something to be decided by experts is wrong-
headed, futile and self-defeating. It misunderstands the role of science
in public discussions about technological risk. It seriously
underestimates the democratic sources of science's vitality and the
capacities of democratic deliberation. And it will further delegitimize
and politicize science in modern societies.
Research and Its Socioethical Implications, Tetsuya Ishii, Trends in
Molecular Medicine (June 12, 2015)
Gene modification has raised tremendous debate in the context of medical
beneficence, safety, human dignity, and risk of abuse for eugenics or
enhancement. Discussion of moratoria and relevant legislation. Public
dialogue is crucial to shape social attitudes towards germline editing.
New Genome, Eric S. Lander, New England Journal of Medicine
(June 3, 2015)
It has been only about a decade since we first read the human genome.
We should exercise great caution before we begin to rewrite it.
- CRISPR, the Disruptor, Heidi Ledford, Nature News
(June 3, 2015)
A powerful gene-editing technology is the biggest game changer to hit
biology since PCR. But with its huge potential come pressing concerns.
(Includes multiple infographics and visual timelines.)
- Position Statement on Genomic Editing in Human Embryos [pdf], Society for Developmental Biology (April 24, 2015)
SDB supports a voluntary moratorium by members of the scientific community on all manipulation of pre-implantation human embryos by genome editing. Such studies raise deep ethical concerns on their and could lead to unanticipated consequences if embryos were then brought to term.
- Genetically Modified Humans?
Seven Reasons to Say "No," Center for Genetics and Society
Crossing the threshold into heritable human genetic alterations has
long been considered dangerously unacceptable for both safety and social
Lessons of Asilomar for Today's Science, Alexander Capron, The New
York Times (May 28, 2015)
Attempts to use new gene editing techniques to "improve" our
descendants raises profound ethical and social issues, and a group
dominated by scientists is too self-interested and unrepresentative to
take them on.
- Let’s talk about the
of germline modification, Gregor Wolbring, Impact Ethics
(May 27, 2015)
We need clarity about where the public discussion should take place, what exactly it should focus on, and who should participate.
- A Note on Genome Editing, White House Office of Science and
Technology Policy (May 26, 2015)
The Obama Administration believes that altering the human germline for
clinical purposes is a line that should not be crossed at this time.
- Eugenics Lurk in
the Shadow of CRISPR, Robert Pollack, Science (May 22, 2015)
This opening to germline modification is, simply put, the opening of a
return to the agenda of eugenics: the positive selection of
"good" versions of the human genome and the weeding out of
- National Academy of Sciences and National Academy
Medicine Announce Initiative on Human Gene Editing, Ralph J. Cicerone
and Victor J. Dzau (May 18, 2015)
of Life, Nature editorial (May 6, 2015)
Now is a good time for a public debate about human germline editing.
Voices from civil society outside the closeted worlds of science,
bioethics and regulation be heard, and their viewpoints must help to set
the terms of the debate.
- Statement on NIH Funding of Research Using Gene-Editing
Technologies in Human Embryos, Francis S. Collins, Director of the
National Institutes of Health (April 29, 2015)
There are "serious and unquantifiable safety issues, ethical issues
presented by altering the germline in a way that affects the next
generation without their consent, and a current lack of compelling
medical applications justifying the use of CRISPR/Cas9 in embryos."
- Editing Human Embryos: So This Happened,
Zimmer, National Geographic (April 22, 2015)
A quick guide to the history behind gene editing, what the Chinese
scientists did, and what it may signify.
- Human Genetic Engineering Demands More Than a
Sheila Jasanoff, J. Benjamin Hurlbut and Krishanu Saha, The Guardian
(April 7, 2015)
Expert calls for a moratorium on germline gene engineering are not a
substitute for richer public debate on the ethics and politics of our
- A Prudent Path Forward for
Genomic Engineering and Germline Gene Modification, David Baltimore
et. al., Science (April 3, 2015)
Recommendations include discouraging "clinical applications in
humans" of germline gene editing "while societal, environmental,
and ethical implications of such activity are discussed among scientific
and governmental organizations" and encouraging "research to
evaluate the efficacy and specificity of CRISPR-Cas9 genome engineering
technology in human and nonhuman model systems relevant to its potential
applications for germline gene therapy."
- Who's Getting Rich Off Your Genes?, Patricia J.
The Nation (April 3, 2015)
The post-war aversion to eugenics — the understanding that despite
great variability from one human to another, no one life is worth more
than another — has eroded.
Germline Genetic Modification, Lisa Ikemoto and Paul Knoepfler, Knoepfler Lab Stem
Cell Blog (March 23, 2015)
"The call for a moratorium"
is "a game changer" that creates an opportunity for research
transparency and open exchange between the scientific community and the
lay public" to discuss our "long, bad history of mis-using human
genetic selection" and how germline engineering "can, and
probably will, expand the list of conditions and traits considered
- Don't Edit the Human Germ Line, Edward Lanphier, Fyodor
Sarah Ehlen Haecker, Michael Werner & Joanna Smolenski, Nature
(March 12, 2015)
Heritable human genetic modifications pose serious risks, and the
therapeutic benefits are tenuous.
- Engineering the Perfect Baby, Antonio Regalado, MIT Technology Review (March 5th, 2015)
Scientists are developing ways to edit the DNA of tomorrow’s children. Should they stop before it’s too late?
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Biopolitical Times Blog
- Weak Arguments For Modifying the Human Germline, by Pete Shanks on December 10th, 2015
At the International Summit on Human Gene Editing, philosopher John Harris engaged in tired and absurd attempts to justify engineering future humans.
- Livetweeting #GeneEditSummit: Democratized Debate or Segregated Conversations?, by Elliot Hosman on December 10th, 2015
Though #GeneEditSummit was trending on Twitter, inclusive public debate must be more robust than the livetweeting of insular stakeholder meetings.
- Stem Cell Researcher to Reddit: "Ask Me Anything" on Human Genetic Modification, by Elliot Hosman on December 10th, 2015
UC Davis researcher Paul Knoepfler fielded 100s of questions on the social and technical implications of genetically modifying human cells.
- CRISPR Gene Editing: Proofreaders and Undo Buttons, but Ever "Safe" Enough?, by Elliot Hosman on November 19, 2015
research suggests that CRISPR gene editing has putative spellcheck and
undo functions, but a number of stakeholders are cautious about a future
filled with GM humans.
- Gene Therapy: Comeback? Cost-Prohibitive?, by Elliot Hosman on November 19, 2015
CRISPR news sometimes confuses germline modification - which should be
put off limits - and gene therapy, which presents its own set of social
and ethical risks to resolve before rushing to market.
- Gene Editing and Eugenics (Opinions Vary), by Pete Shanks on October 29th, 2015
recent commentary on the UK law allowing clinical use of mitochondrial
replacement celebrates it as a benign form of eugenics. Is there such a
- The CRISPR Germline Debate: Closed to the Public?, by Elliot Hosman on October 15, 2015
CRISPR media coverage focuses on hype rather than engaging the ethical
and social implications of the groundbreaking technology—even as many
call for the public's inclusion in the genome editing debate.
- CRISPR-Cpf1: Hype by Association, by Elliot Hosman on October 2, 2015
Nobel Prize predictions for CRISPR-Cas9 research, a new CRISPR
associated protein takes the media and science community by storm, even
as its utility remains unclear.
- Considering CRISPR: Putting a thumb on the scale?, by Pete Shanks on September 24, 2015
National Academies have announced the date for their International
Summit on Human Gene Editing. Are some of the organizers trying to
predetermine the outcome?
- Fast Forward-Pause-Stop: The 3-Speed Human Germline Debate, by Lisa C. Ikemoto (guest contributor) on September 10, 2015
rapid uptake has spurred proposals from moratoria to get-out-of-the-way
optimism, but ad hoc responses aren’t enough when there is so much at
- Pinker's Damn: A Naive Rejection of Controls Over Genetic Engineering, by Stuart Newman (guest contributor) on September 4, 2015
Steven Pinker's credulous optimism concerning human germline
modification ignores a record of complicity by some scientists, and
appropriation of the work of others, in abuses by industry and
- The Rhetorical Two-Step: Steven Pinker, CRISPR, and Disability, by George Estreich (guest contributor) on September 4, 2015
Steven Pinker’s invitation for bioethics to “get out of the way” of the CRISPR revolution typifies a rhetorical pattern: uncritical support for human-focused biotech is paired with a negative view of disability.
- Putting Ourselves in Harm's Way: Thoughts on Pinker and the Role of Bioethics, by Nathaniel Comfort (guest contributor) on August 12, 2015
Confronting Steven Pinker and the legacy of biomedicine, ethicists and historians need to "get in harm's way to spare harm to others."
- The Facts Behind
#CRISPRfacts and the Hype Behind CRISPR, posted by Jonathan Chernoguz on
July 28, 2015
WIRED's hyped magazine cover story on CRISPR entitled "The Genesis
Engine" triggers a wave of tweets and criticism.
- Talking About the Germline, posted by Pete Shanks on July 8,
The debate about heritable human genetic modification continues, with
opinions ranging from enthusiasm to dismay, and strong arguments for
political as well as scientific involvement.
Tropes and New Twists in the Debate about Human Germline Modification, by Marcy Darnovsky on May 28, 2015
Techno-enthusiasts now argue that as we think about the human future,
we should rule out considering what we might learn from works of
literature and film, as well as those aspects of myth, policy and history
they don’t like.
- Stopping or Selling Human Germline Modification?, by
Pete Shanks on May 7, 2015
Debate about human germline engineering has taken off since
publication of a paper describing failed attempts to genetically modify a
- Calling for "More than a Moratorium" on Human
Modification, by Jessica Cussins on April 9, 2015
A broader array of critical responses and policy suggestions follows
recent reports that the gene-editing technique CRISPR has been used to
genetically modify human sperm, eggs or embryos.
- DARPA, Synthetic Biology and Human Germline Engineering, by Pete Shanks on April 9, 2015
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is committed to
synthetic biology as one of its four main project areas, and may be
involved in human germline experiments.
- Incurious about Ethics?, by Marcy Darnovsky on April
An Institute of Medicine committee is studying the "ethical and
social policy" implications of germline mitochondrial manipulation.
Why do most of its members seem uninterested in social or policy
Tipping Point on Human Germline Modification?, by Jessica Cussins
on March 19, 2015
Amidst reports that human embryos have been modified using the gene
editing technique CRISPR, several groups of scientists have issued
statements proposing moratoria on human germline genome editing.
Germline Hype Pings around the Globe, by Pete Shanks on November
Crispr gene-editing technology gets a publicity push from a failing
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for Genetics and Society Press Releases
- Center for Genetics and Society releases open letter and report calling for prohibitions on human germline engineering (November 29th, 2015)
Scholars, health practitioners, scientists, public interest advocates, and others have signed a CGS-organized open letter calling for strengthened prohibitions against heritable human genetic modification.
- Center for Genetics and Society Comments on First Application to Pursue Genome Editing in Human Embryos (September 18, 2015)
scientists and the regulatory agency in the UK are serious about
responsible use of powerful new gene altering technologies, they won't
be rushing ahead in ways that could open the door to genetically
- Center for Genetics and Society
Comments on White House and National Academies Approaches to Altering the
Human Germline (May 27, 2015)
"The endorsement of a pause by the White House is an important
- NIH Statement on Gene Editing
Highlights Need for Stronger US Stance on Genetically Modified Humans,
Says Public Interest Group (April 29, 2015)
CGS welcomes NIH Director Francis Collins' unambiguous statement that
"altering the human germline in embryos for clinical purposes … has
been viewed almost universally as a line that should not be
- Public Interest Group Calls for
Strengthening Global Policies Against Human Germline Modification (April
"No researcher has the moral warrant to flout the globally
widespread policy agreement against altering the human germline."
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