An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Leading scientists have called for a global moratorium on the use of powerful DNA editing tools to make genetically modified children. The move is intended to send a clear signal to maverick researchers, and the scientific community more broadly, that any attempt to rewrite the DNA of sperm, eggs or embryos destined for live births is not acceptable. Beyond a formal freeze on any such work, the experts want countries to register and declare any plans that scientists may put forward in the future, and have these discussed through an international body, potentially run by the World Health Organization. Alongside technical debates about the possible benefits of creating genetically modified babies, the scientists said no decisions should be made to go ahead without broad public support. Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, calls for the moratorium with 16 other experts in the journal Nature. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Feng Zhang, who helped discover and develop the most common gene editing tool, CRISPR, contributed to the article.
The call comes four months after Chinese researcher He Jiankui used human embryos modified with CRISPR to create twin girls resistant to HIV.