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Why we can’t do anything about a Russian scientist’s plans to create more CRISPR babies

| | June 26, 2019

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

Related article:  130 researchers urge Europe not to banish crop gene-editing with 'strict' regulations
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