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Leading scientists to develop rules for human gene editing

An international commission of researchers is to come up with standards for the clinical use of heritable human genome editing, after a Chinese scientist claimed to have genetically modified twins to make them HIV-resistant.

The 18-person commission will come up with scientific, medical and ethical requirements for the clinical application of germline genome editing, “if society concludes that heritable human genome editing applications are acceptable”, according to a statement published on 22 May. The commission was convened by the Royal Society, and the United States’ National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine (NAM).

Since Chinese scientist He Jiankui claimed in November 2018 to have created the world’s first genome-edited babies, fierce debate has arisen on the ethics of heritable genome editing.

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