January 19, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

human germline gene editing

8 min read

The topic of heritable human genetic modification has been heating up recently. Prominent scientists, ethicists, and legal scholars have being weighing in, and there is a range of attitudes. Some favor a complete, moratorium including even lab work, while on the other end of the spectrum there are those who have a more liberal perspective. Many of us fall in the middle somewhere. I have been interested in having conversations with people with diverse views and posting them on this blog. You can see past …Read More

9 min read

I’m doing a series of interviews with leaders in the field on human germline modification with the first interview in this series with George Church and today’s second in this series is a conversation I had with Dr. Jennifer Doudna, a pioneer in CRISPR-Cas9 technology. Doudna is a Professor in MCB and Chemistry as well as Li Ka Shing Chancellor’s Chair in Biomedical and Health Sciences at UC Berkeley. She is also an HHMI Investigator. You can read more about the Doudna lab’s research here. …Read More

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

3 min read

This guest piece on Human Germline Genetic Modification is by Lisa C. Ikemoto, Professor, U.C. Davis School of Law. I have been following the reports about genetic editing technology with concern. The fact that some scientists are calling for moratoria on gene editing of human embryos heartens me. Frankly, I had little confidence that any group of scientists could bring themselves to call for limits on research. The call for a moratorium is as much a game changer as the technology itself. It creates …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