2015-12-04. Inside the summit on human gene editing: A reporter’s notebook.

posted Dec 6, 2015, 2:14 PM by Alan Gould
By John Travis, The New York Times. For GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 4. Excerpt: ...The conference ended with the organizing committee, a mix of 12 biologists, physicians, and bioethicists, strongly endorsing the use of CRISPR and similar methods for basic research that involves altering the DNA sequences of human eggs, sperm, or embryos—work that is at the moment ineligible for federal funding in the United States and that in Germany could even get a scientist imprisoned. But the summit’s organizers concluded that actually trying to produce a human pregnancy from such modified germ cells or embryos, either through in vitro fertilization (IVF) with the sperm or eggs or the implantation of an embryo, is currently “irresponsible” because of ongoing safety concerns and a lack of societal consensus. The group’s statement, however, did not permanently rule out such gene editing of the germline, presumably to prevent the transmission of genetic disease from a parent to child. (Introducing permanent “enhancements” into the human genome was largely deemed off-limits, although a few attendees rejected that general consensus.) In fact, the missive called for revisiting the issue on a “regular basis.” “Over the years, the unthinkable has become conceivable. We’re on the cusp of a new era in human history,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge biologist David Baltimore, chair of the summit organizing committee, told the audience....  http://news.sciencemag.org/scientific-community/2015/12/inside-summit-human-gene-editing-reporter-s-notebook 0