Calling for a halt to gene-edited babies, World Health Organization stops short of ‘all-out moratorium’

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He Jiankui. Image: VCG

The world’s largest public health authority has weighed in with the most authoritative statement yet on the use of Crispr to alter the DNA of human babies. Eight months after a rogue Chinese scientist revealed he had secretly created the world’s first gene-edited children, the World Health Organization is asking countries to put a stop to any experiments that would lead to the births of more gene-edited humans. On [August 2], the WHO’s director-general put out a statement urging “that regulatory authorities in all countries should not allow any further work in this area until its implications have been properly considered.”

While stopping short of the all-out moratorium that many scientists called for in the hours and days after Chinese scientist He Jiankui revealed his controversial work in November, the WHO’s position is a strong rebuke of He’s work. But whether it will prove a powerful deterrent to any who would hope to follow in his footsteps remains to be seen.

Related article:  'Family duty' could explain why so many Chinese couples signed up for controversial 'CRISPR baby' experiment

“Unlike a moratorium it invites conversation, and that’s really critical right now because there’s no doubt in my mind that the interest in human germline editing is not going away.” [said CRISPR co-creator Jennifer Doudna].

Read full, original post: The World Health Organization says no more gene-edited babies

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