Building Barriers to Gene Editing

A WHO advisory committee—set up after the birth of the first “CRISPR babies”—is calling for a global registry for studies on human genome editing.

The registry would cover germline editing (changes to the genome that can be passed on), and the less controversial studies editing adult cells. It does not recommend a moratorium on germline editing for reproduction—a hotly debated issue.

The committee wants scientific journals to bar unregistered studies, and funders to make registration a requirement for grantees. But without legal sanctions, the registry doesn’t prevent a “rogue scientist” from ignoring it.


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