A prudent path forward for genomic engineering and germline gene modification

David Baltimore
Paul Berg
Michael Botchan
Dana Carroll
R. Alta Charo
George Church
Jacob E. Corn
George Q. Daley
Jennifer A. Doudna
Marsha Fenner
Henry T. Greely
Martin Jinek
G. Steven Martin
Edward Penhoet
Jennifer Puck
Samuel H. Sternberg
Jonathan S. Weissman
Keith R. Yamamoto
A collection of prominent scientific researchers call for open discourse on the potential applications of CRISPR/Cas9 to modify the human genome. These researchers, among whom are several organizers of the Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, also gathered in California—a bit north of Asilomar, in Napa—to discuss the prospects of an emerging technology of concern. Following this meeting, the authors make several recommendations. These include taking steps to “strongly discourage” any use of CRISPR/Cas9 to modify the human genome until there is a better understanding of its risks and benefits and a broader discussion about such applications. While they include some recommendations for public participation in these processes, their recommendations still largely position scientific research as the driver of public discussion and response.