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On September 5, 2020, the International Commission on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing, established by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine (NAM), the National Academy of Science, and the British Royal Society, with members from 10 countries, issued its Report, recommending caution in future uses of heritable human genome editing (HHGE) (National Academy of Medicine, the National Academies of Sciences and the Royal Society 2020). The report carefully considered a range of key issues, and marks a significant and impressive achievement, but also raises and highlights several additional crucial ethical challenges that various stakeholders will likely confront and that also need attention.

The Commission was established in November 2019, following Dr. He Jiankui’s announcement that he had transferred edited human embryos into a uterus, producing twin girls. In response, the World Health Organization (WHO) similarly created an Expert Advisory Committee on Developing Global Standards for Governance and Oversight of Human Genome Editing, which has recently also released additional documents about its deliberations (WHO 2020).

Background

HHGE lets researchers alter the genes of embryos and thus future... see more