The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's International Bioethics Committee called for a moratorium on germline genome editing and regulations on direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing in a draft report published last week.
Gene editing technology "seems to require particular precautions and raises serious concerns," the report said, "especially if the editing of the human genome should be applied to the germline and therefore introduce hereditary modifications, which could be transmitted to future generations."
The Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, which all UNESCO member states have adopted, considers the human genome to be part of the heritage of humanity.
The report exhorted member states to "to boost the idea of shared global standard-setting and regulation" on genome editing, rather than address it in each individual state's legal system. States, however, should be allowed to adopt more detailed and stricter national regulations, the report said.
Germline editing with CRISPR/Cas9 has popped up as an issue in several international locales. In April, scientists at Sun Yat-sen University in China edited non-viable zygotes with CRISPR/Cas9. Last...