Russian health officials are playing down international concerns that a Moscow researcher plans to create gene-edited babies any time soon, saying for the first time that the experiment would be “premature.”
Denis Rebrikov, the scientist who has said he wants to use the genome-editing technology CRISPR to alter embryos, has sparked widespread alarm among scientists who fear that he could become the second researcher to conduct such work, following the birth of gene-edited twins in China last year.
But in a statement issued last week to Russian wire services, the health ministry here said it fully supports the World Health Organization position against making changes to the human germline.
The ministry’s stance puts at least a temporary hurdle in front of Rebrikov, who would need the agency’s approval to proceed with his experiment to repair a mutated gene that causes deafness.
Chekhonin, who said he knows Rebrikov well, said the scientist would not go against regulators in this matter: “I am confident he has the common sense not to break the law. I have no reason not to be confident in him.”
Read full, original post: Calling embryo editing ‘premature,’ Russian authorities seek to ease fears of a scientist going rogue