Two influential leaders in science for the first time publicly condemned a Russian biologist who said he plans to produce gene-edited babies but conceded that it was beyond their organizations’ authority to halt him from doing so.
In separate interviews with STAT over the weekend, Margaret Hamburg, co-chair of an international advisory committee on human genome-editing, and Victor Dzau, president of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, said they were deeply concerned by the plans.
[Denis] Rebrikov, a molecular biologist in Moscow, said he was considering implanting gene-edited embryos into women as soon as this year, if he could get approval from the Russian government. He said he would edit a gene called CCR5 in hopes of protecting any offspring against HIV infection.
Rebrikov defended his plans in a broadcast interview with NPR last week, saying, “How it can be unethical if we will make [a] healthy baby instead of diseased?”
[Hamburg] said she hoped that the Russia case “underscores the importance of really trying to create a global governance framework, really trying to engage the scientific community in terms of its responsibility to step up to the plate.’’
Read full, original post: Alarmed by new ‘CRISPR babies’ plan, top science figures say they’re powerless to stop it