Experts have recommended against genome editing that culminates in human pregnancy in a new policy statement on germline genome editing in humans. The statement, however supports publicly funded, in vitro research into the potential clinical applications of genome editing and outlines scientific and societal steps necessary before implementation of such clinical applications.
The stance, published in The American Journal of Human Genetics, was issued by an international group of 11 organisations with genetics expertise including the International Genetic Epidemiology Society, the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), the Association of Genetic Nurses and Counsellors, the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors, and the National Society of Genetic Counselors.
Derek T. Scholes, ASHG Director of Science Policy said the potential use of genome editing raises a multitude of scientific, ethical, and policy questions which scientists alone cannot answer and which need to be debated by society.
The statement was issued the same week scientists detailed in Nature how they have demonstrated an effective way of using CRISPR to target a mutation in nuclear DNA that causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and prevent it from being inherited by succeeding generations. This is the first time scientists have successfully tested the method on donated clinical-quality human eggs.