CRISPR: A path through the thicket

Mathews et al in Nature:

MicroscopeThe ease of use, accuracy and efficiency of the genome-editing tool CRISPR/Cas9 has led to its broad adoption in research, as well as to preliminary applications in agriculture and in gene therapies involving non-reproductive (somatic) cells. It is also possible in some jurisdictions to deploy CRISPR/Cas9, and related techniques1, in human germline cells (sperm and eggs) as well as in early embryos2. In September, a network of more than 30 scientists, ethicists, policymakers, journal editors and funders called the Hinxton Group gathered in Manchester, UK, to address the ethical and policy issues surrounding the editing of human genomes in the early stages of development and in germline cells (see Similar meetings have been and are being held elsewhere in the world, and several position statements have been published (see, for instance, and

…Establish a model regulatory framework that could be adopted internationally. Various groups, including ours, agree that numerous technical and safety issues need to be addressed before genome-editing technologies could feasibly be used in reproductive clinical applications. Many also share our strong conviction that basic research involving genome editing should not be halted or hampered. Such studies are likely to have tremendous value, including in human-reproduction applications that do not involve genome editing, and potentially in the development of treatments using somatic cells.

More here.