January 23, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

human germ cell gene editing

4 min read

Hank Greely over at The Center for Law and Biosciences at Stanford Law School was one of the participants in the recent Napa meeting on approaches to human germline genetic modification. Hank was also one of the authors on the resulting position paper in Science with David Baltimore as first author (here). Now Hank, pictured below, has written an intriguing blog post that kind of gives a behind the scenes look at what has gone on in this area in the last few months and …Read More

2 min read

We’ve all heard the human embryo editing rumors. There is a sense that human embryos have already been CRISPR’d. Rumors are rumors and they may mean not a whole lot, but there definitely is a huge buzz on this right now both in a positive sense and with concern. The excitement is over the power of this technology to do transformative things. The worry is that these papers might easily cross a line or if they are not done incredibly rigorously with unquestionable transparency, institutional …Read More

3 min read

Should we be using the term ‘genetically modified human’ in discussions of heritable use of CRISPR in people? During the still ongoing discussions of genetic modification in the human germline and potentially in actual human beings in the future, an interesting, but difficult question has emerged: What words or names would be most appropriate for the community to use to refer to potential future human beings that have gene edits? I have up until now referred to such hypothetical people as “genetically modified humans” or …Read More

3 min read

CRISPR Cas9 gene editing technology is a game changer on many levels both inside and soon outside the lab. There is a growing sense of urgency amongst biomedical scientists to take a proactive approach to current and future use of CRISPR gene editing technology in human germ cells and embryos. These concerns have been heightened by rumors of multiple papers currently in various stages of peer review that will reportedly describe CRISPR-mediated gene editing of human embryos. A number of scientists and scientific organizations have recently come …Read More

2 min read

In a new perspectives piece in Science, Nobel Laureate David Baltimore and co-authors including Jennifer Doudna and George Church, chart a potential path forward for human germline engineering. See also accompanying Bioethics piece by Gretchen Vogel as well, “Embryo engineering alarm”. In the piece, entitled “A prudent path forward for genomic engineering and germline gene modification” calls for further discussion and assessment of key potential benefits and risks to moving forward with this technology. The illustration included here is from the piece. The piece …Read More

2 min read

The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) just now released a new policy statement on human germline gene editing. The statement calls for a ban on clinical application of human germline gene editing technology. Here is the brief summary statement at the beginning: The International Society for Stem Cell Research calls for a moratorium on attempts at clinical application of nuclear genome editing of the human germ line to enable more extensive scientific analysis of the potential risks of genome editing and broader public …Read More