The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine

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The Academies have provided leadership in the past on controversial new areas of genetic research, such as recombinant DNA technology, human embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and “gain-of-function” research. In keeping with these past efforts, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine have launched a new initiative to inform decision making related to recent advances in human gene-editing research. [Learn about related Academies’ studies and reports on genetic research]


 Latest News: Consensus Report Released

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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 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 proposes criteria for 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. Read or download the full report.


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About This Initiative

Powerful new gene-editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9, hold great promise for advancing science and treating disease, but they also raise concerns and present complex challenges, particularly because of their potential to be used to make genetic changes that could be passed on to future generations, thereby modifying the human germline.

The National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine's human gene-editing initiative will provide researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and societies around the world with a comprehensive understanding of human gene editing to help inform decision making about this research and its application.

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