A group of scientists call for a Moratorium on Gene Editing

The International Society for Stem Cell Research and the  Doudna group calls for public discussion, but is also working to develop some more formal process, such as an international meeting convened by the National Academy of Sciences, to establish guidelines for human use of the genome-editing technique.  A paper published in Science calls for a moratorium on any clinical application.

GMO Corn-debate.org

    Genome engineering technology offers unparalleled potential for modifying human and nonhuman genomes. In humans, it holds the promise of curing genetic disease like sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy & cancer.   In other organisms, it provides methods to reshape the biosphere for the benefit of the environment and human societies. However, with such enormous opportunities come unknown risks to human health and well-being. In January, a group of interested stakeholders met in Napa, California, to discuss the scientific, medical, legal, and ethical implications of these new prospects for genome biology. The goal was to initiate an informed discussion of the uses of genome engineering technology, and to identify those areas where action is essential to prepare for future developments. The meeting identified immediate steps to take toward ensuring that the application of genome engineering technology is performed safely and ethically.

DOI: 10.1126/science.aab1028.   PERSPECTIVE  BIOTECHNOLOGY
A prudent path forward for genomic engineering and germline gene modification
David Baltimore1, Paul Berg2, Michael Botchan3,4, Dana Carroll5, R. Alta Charo6, George Church7, Jacob E. Corn4, George Q. Daley8,9, Jennifer A. Doudna4,10,*, Marsha Fenner4, Henry T. Greely11, Martin Jinek12, G. Steven Martin13, Edward Penhoet14, Jennifer Puck15, Samuel H. Sternberg16, Jonathan S. Weissman4,17, Keith R. Yamamoto4,18

         Some in the science community urge us to proceed considerately w/ caution. Researchers and the public need to have considerate  debate raising important ethical, safety, regulatory & public policy concerns altering genes.   Though highly efficient, the technique occasionally cuts the genome at unintended sites.   The chief problem has always been one of accuracy, of editing the DNA at precisely the intended site, since any off-target change could be lethal.
        Dr. Baltimore said. “I personally think we are just not smart enough — and won’t be for a very long time — to feel comfortable about the consequences of changing heredity, even in a single individual.”

       I would also suggest that each state's medical and research community set-up a Center for BioEthics to raise these important issues.   Does anyone know the long-term implications of  altering corns' genes and sold to farmers by Genetically Modified Organism (GMO0) companies?

All the best,
Dr. Anderson

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