Like it or not, the ‘Pandora’s box’ of gene-edited babies has been opened

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Denis Rebrikov is the head of a genome-editing laboratory at the Kulakov National Medical Research Center for Obstetrics, Russia’s largest fertility clinic. He told Nature he plans to use the gene-editing technology CRISPR on human embryos to disable the CCR5 gene, the same one He [Jiankui] targeted, which is believed to confer immunity to HIV.

The news of Rebrikov’s plans have been broadly decried by experts. The complaints are the same as those raised following He’s announcement, primarily that we still don’t understand the process of gene editing and the potential risks well enough to justify even supposedly medically-inspired uses of the technology.

That’s prompted scientists to call for a global moratorium on human germline DNA editing.

But even if an international moratorium or ban is agreed upon—probably a long shot given the fractured geopolitical environment—the technology and know-how required to do germline editing is generic enough that clandestine projects would be fairly easy to keep hidden.

Whether we like it or not, the Pandora’s box of human gene editing has been opened. The question now is, can we work out how to manage the impact?

Read full, original post: CRISPR in Russia: The World’s Next Gene-Edited Babies May Not Be Far Away

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