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RSVPs for Gene Editing Summit

The Chinese Academy of Sciences and the UK's Royal Society say they will be joining the US National Academy of Sciences' international summit in December on gene editing, Reuters reports.

"Human gene editing offers great promise for improving human health and well-being but it also raises significant ethical and societal issues," Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, says. "It is vital that we have a well-informed international debate about the potential benefits and risks, and this summit can hopefully set the tone for that discussion."

The academy, along with the Institute of Medicine, announced the plans for a summit to discuss scientific, ethical, legal, and political issues associated with human gene editing, especially CRISPR-based research, in May.

There have been several calls for greater discussion of the ramifications of genome editing, particularly following the paper published in April by Sun Yat-sen University researchers describing their efforts to apply a CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing approach in non-viable human embryos. 

Reuters notes the academy also plans to convene an expert committee to develop standards and guidelines for the use of genome-editing tools.