Human genetic engineering demands more than a moratorium

Sheila Jasanoff
J. Benjamin Hurlbut
Krishanu Saha
The Directors of the Global Observatory argue that calls for a moratorium on human germline genomic engineering from the scientific community must be accompanied by broad public debate on the ethics and politics of biotechnology. Referring to Baltimore et al.’s opinion piece in Science, they point to Asilomar’s example of bracketing significant public concerns, including ethical and social dimensions of emerging biotechnologies, in order to “create safe spaces for science.” The Directors describe the model of deference to scientific expertise in matters of government as a “democratic deficit.” We must, they argue, build a better model for public deliberation and participation in imagining our shared biotechnological futures.