With the conclusion of the International Summit on Human Gene Editing, the second component of the Human Gene-Editing Initiative began: a comprehensive study of the scientific underpinnings of human gene-editing technologies, their potential use in biomedical research and medicine -- including human germline editing -- and the clinical, ethical, legal, and social implications of their use.
A multidisciplinary committee of experts began its information-gathering process at the summit, and over the past year performed its own independent and in-depth review of the science and policy of human gene editing by reviewing the literature and holding data-gathering meetings in the U.S. and abroad to solicit broad input from researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and the public. The committee also monitored for the latest scientific achievements of importance in this rapidly developing field.
While informed by the statement issued by the organizing committee for the international summit, the consensus study committee had broad discretion to arrive at its own findings and conclusions. The committee's report represents the official views of NAS and NAM.
Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance
Genome editing is a powerful new tool for making precise alterations to an organism’s genetic material. Recent scientific advances have made genome editing more efficient, precise, and flexible than ever before. These advances have spurred an explosion of interest from around the globe in the possible ways in which genome editing can improve human health. The speed at which these technologies are being developed and applied has led many policymakers and stakeholders to express concern about whether appropriate systems are in place to govern these technologies and how and when the public should be engaged in these decisions.
In Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance, a new report from the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine, an expert committee considers important questions about the human application of genome editing including: Balancing potential benefits with unintended risks, governing the use of genome editing, incorporating societal values into clinical applications and policy decisions, and respecting the inevitable differences across nations and cultures that will shape how and whether to use these new technologies. The committee sets forth criteria that must be met before permitting clinical trials of heritable germline editing, provides conclusions on the crucial need for public education and engagement, and presents seven general principles for the governance of human genome editing.
The following one-pagers are also available:
Watch the archived video webcast of the report release briefing, held Feb. 14, 2017.