ISSCR calls for moratorium on clinical application of human germline nuclear genome editing

The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) just now released a new policy statement on human germline gene editing.ISSCR_logo

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 discussion of the societal and ethical implications.

These are very important issues that are raised.

Notably ISSCR is supportive of in vitro research in this area in the lab:

At this time, the ISSCR supports in vitro laboratory research, performed under proper ethical oversight, to enhance basic knowledge and to better understand the safety issues associated with human genome editing technologies, including their potential for application in somatic tissues. The ISSCR also calls for broad public and international dialogue on the capabilities and limitations of these technologies and on the implications of their application to the human germ line. The ISSCR is committed to playing a role in catalyzing both the scientific and broader ethical deliberations about germline genome editing.

The ISSCR also noted that it does not take a position on mitochondrial disease-related, so-called “3-person IVF” technology, which it distinguishes from nuclear genome modification.

This statement overall seems at a middle ground relative to the recent Lanphier piece calling for a broader moratorium.

Stay tuned for more scientists weighing in on this important issue very soon.