Why China scientist’s CRISPR baby scandal won’t be the last ethical ‘grenade’ for human gene editing

| | February 13, 2020
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Image: Mike McQuade
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Over the next two years, via a series of stakeholder meetings and online consultations, talks with ethicists, academics, patient groups, and social scientists a World Health Organisation (WHO) panel, must deliver fresh ideas for a comprehensive governance framework.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO chief scientist, speaking before the case in China, said: “The panel will develop essential tools and guidance for all those working on this new technology, to ensure maximum benefit and minimal risk to human health.”

But can her proposed global registration system for research work? …

He Jiankui and two associates were convicted of experimenting using the CRISPR technique on human embryos. …

News of a three-year jail term for a reportedly gifted but wayward scientist, will reignite the debate about the need for early regulatory action. It will be a relief for those ethical concerns and disturb those with a desire push the envelope.

Related article:  CRISPR gene-edited food in Europe? Questions remain on crop breeding regulations

It may be time to talk about where the red lines need to be drawn in respect of CRISPR gene/embryo editing. No one with any interest can accept that CRISPR technology has been hit by its last grenade. What revelations lie ahead?

Over time He’s experiment may become no more than a historical blip on the road to finding a response to severe inherited diseases.

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