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Gloved hands over test tubes

In a letter sent to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar today, a broad collective of 62 individual scientists, bioethicists, and biotechnology executives, including past-presidents and current board of directors members from ASGCT, across industry and academia called for collaboration on a binding global moratorium on human clinical germline experimentation.

“Although we recognize the great scientific advancement represented by gene editing technologies and their potential value for an improved understanding and possible treatment of human disease, we strongly believe the editing of human embryos that results in births carries serious problems for which there are no scientific, ethical, or societal consensuses,” the letter reads. “As a result, we contend that such human genetic manipulation should be considered unacceptable and support a binding global moratorium until serious scientific, societal, and ethical concerns are fully addressed.”

This unique collaboration among academia, bioethicists, and industry also calls for the policies governing germ-line gene editing and any associated enforcement mechanisms to take into account the individual, familial, societal, and species-level rights, needs, interests, and values affected by this rapidly advancing...