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ISSCR president calls for moratorium on human gene editing.

by Published on 24th Apr 2015

by Published on 24th April 2015

In response to yesterday’s news that Chinese researchers had modified human embryos, Rudolf Jaenisch, the president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research ISSCR, (a nonprofit group comprised of nearly 4,000 researchers, clinicians and ethicists from over 50 countries) has called for a moratorium on human gene editing.

Jaenisch spoke of the need for the scientific community to think about the implications of their work and to start asking the tough questions: “Even if we could safely modify the inheritable DNA in an embryo, egg or sperm, should we? In what scenarios might this be justified? How can we be assured that the technologies will not be abused? How do we maintain an openness with the public such that they understand and support the scientific community in their quest to improve public health?”

Calling for increased basic research and understanding of the safety issues associated with human genome editing technologies, Jaenisch does not intend to dampen excitement about the foundational research or clinical applications underway involving the modification of non-reproductive cells - he wants recognition for the important scientific, as well as broad social and ethical considerations that arise. The crux of the issue is as the power and scope of new technologies and techniques increases, are the ethical and moral structures in place to support them?  

Read more at...Time Magazine