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Rushing to revamp international gene-editing rules before ‘crazy people’ start opening embryo-editing clinics

| | August 16, 2019

The second-most shocking thing He Jiankui told the international genome editing summit in Hong Kong last November — right after announcing that twin girls had been born from embryos whose DNA he’d changed with CRISPR — was that he’d followed guidelines on embryo editing set forth by a panel of leading U.S. scientists and ethicists.

They didn’t do it in time to stop He. But now it’s mulligan time for embryo-editing rules.

On [August 12], the International Commission on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing will start the do-over, holding its first public meeting to discuss what the organizers — the Academies and the U.K. Royal Society — hope will be a more detailed, less ambiguous report on embryo editing. Also called germline editing, the technique alters the DNA of embryos in a way that any future offspring would inherit.

As it happens, a Russian scientist recently declared his intention to CRISPR embryos. And with a New York fertility doctor, He discussed offering embryo editing to couples, Science recently reported.

“I hope,” said [biologist Robin] Lovell-Badge, “that we can do something before crazy people set up an [embryo editing] clinic and try to make a buck.”

Read full, original post: For rules on creating ‘CRISPR babies’ from edited embryos, scientists call a do-over

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