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Commission to Develop Report on Germline Editing

An international commission is to develop a framework for researchers, clinicians, and regulators to use when evaluating the clinical applications of human germline genome editing.

Shortly after researcher He Jiankui announced in November at a conference in Hong Kong the birth of twin girls whose genomes he attempted to edit as embryos, US National Academy of Medicine's Victor Dzau, the US National Academy of Sciences' Marcia McNutt, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Chunli Bai penned an editorial in Science that called on the international community to develop criteria and standards for germline editing.

"These revelations at the summit in Hong Kong underscore the urgent need for an internationally accepted framework to help scientists, medical experts, and regulators address the complex scientific and medical issues surrounding clinical use of germline genome editing," NAM's Dzau and Royal Society Vice President John Skehel now say in a statement.

The commission is to include representatives from 10 countries and is to hold three meetings and an international workshop to discuss the scientific, societal, and ethical issues of germline editing ranging from correcting severe disease to enhancing humans, among numerous other topics. It is to then issue a final report and recommendations, which is expected next spring.