“CRISPR Cas9” by National Institutes of Health (NIH) is licensed under CC PDM 1.0
One of CRISPR’s inventors has called for controls on gene-editing technology
MIT Technology Review November 15, 2019
Jennifer Doudna says governments need to pay more attention to controlling the revolutionary gene-editing tool.
One year on: Doudna, a University of California biochemist who helped create CRISPR in 2012, wrote an editorial in Science yesterday to note the anniversary of the announcement by Chinese scientist, He Jiankui, that he had created gene-edited twin girls. She says it was a “risky and medically unnecessary” experiment that violated the doctor’s rule to avoid causing harm and ignored calls not to proceed.
A moratorium? Forget about it: So how do we stop this happening again? Since the “CRISPR babies” debacle, scientists have suggested a moratorium. But that’s not going to cut it, says Doudna.
Tinkering and temptation: “The temptation to tinker with the human germ line” is not going to go away, Doudna says. In her editorial, Doudna never clearly says exactly why she is so worried about “CRISPR babies.” But at least part of the answer is the China case showed how gene-editing gives great power to small teams of scientists—and how finger wagging might not be enough to stop them from doing wrong.
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