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The Chinese scientist who created “CRISPR babies,” He Jiankui, sincerely believed that the research violated neither his country’s laws nor the guidelines of the international scientific community, according to his friends and colleagues. He didn’t exactly keep his experiment secret: He told at least four U.S. scientists that he was considering establishing pregnancies with genome-edited IVF embryos, enlisted a U.S. scientist to work at his Shenzhen lab, teamed with a Chinese hospital and IVF clinic, and proudly announced the birth of “Nana” and “Lulu” on YouTube in November.

Though researchers forcefully condemned He’s work as unethical and a breach of a scientific red line — and while the Chinese government has since accused him of breaking their laws — He clearly hadn’t gotten the memo.


Now, in an effort to prevent another He, 18 scientists from seven countries have called for “a global moratorium on all clinical uses of human germline editing” — that is, changing DNA in sperm, eggs, or early embryos to make genetically altered children, alterations that would be passed on to future generations. They say a moratorium should be in place for at least five years.

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  • They’re afraid that some babies will be superhuman from the outset, and of course, that will break equality, that western shibboleth since the 18th century.

    Time to reach for something better and higher than man!

    “Man is a rope stretched across the abyss between the animal and the superhuman.” — Nietzsche

  • For a moratorium as well as “uniformly accepted standards” for CRSPR-ing new humans with altered genetics, laws need to be written, on a global scale. So the “homework” applies to both scenarios. In either case, rogue scientists who play by their own rules (like HE) will unfortunately always exist. With a moratorium the limits and allowances are much clearer, with minimal grey areas for differing interpretations. A moratorium is for humanity’s sake.

    Focus of the valuable CRSPR techniques should be elsewhere : on saving existing lives, curing diseases, learning from the results. Just as for drugs and biotech development, there should be ample study-time, certainly for a technique with such serious alterations as CRSPR can cause. With newly created human types thrown in the mix prematurely, true research would be impossible due to the unknown newly generated variables. Research is not served by premature, uncontrolled, hap-hazard rogue activity.

  • In my opinion, Innovation should never be delayed, we can use Blockchain to create multi-signature smart contracts around each germline editing pipeline to seek consensus and safety clearance by a Global Committee of experts case by case.

  • In the race to cure awful genetic diseases or augment a human characteristic, someone will inadvertently make a gene drive that’ll wipeout the human race. Or maybe they’ll do it on purpose.

  • There should be a world look at making babies with crispr but right now there is an enormous need to use crisper to cure cancer. I would like to know how long the biotech co’s are going to drag there feet while thousands of people die needlessly everyday

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