Viewpoint: Don’t expect the first CRISPR baby to be born in the US

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Image: Dylan Parker

The media well and truly pricked up its collective ears when US geneticist Shoukhrat Mitalipov last month showed that he could use the CRISPR gene-editing system in a very early human embryo to correct a mutation that can cause heart defects.

But where might the first gene-edited baby be born? There are reasons to doubt it will be in the US. In February, the National Academies of Sciences published a report, Human Genome Editing: Science, ethics, and governance, that gives support for gene editing for human reproductive purposes, but only in cases where no safer, existing options are available.

Crucially, the existing method of screening unedited IVF embryos before implantation can usually generate one without a heritable mutation because there is a 50 per cent chance of not passing on a disease causing gene in almost all instances.

What’s more, US medical insurance coverage is unlikely to deem prophylactic gene-modification techniques “medically necessary”…

In addition, the US Food and Drug Administration regards CRISPR as a drug…As a result, CRISPR has to go through a regulatory pathway…and approval could take a decade or more. The FDA might raid any clinic trying to use unlicensed CRISPR to engineer a baby.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: This is why the first CRISPR baby won’t be born in the US

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