Human embryo science: can the world’s regulators keep pace?

This news piece in Nature reflects on recent developments in embryo research to point to the gap between the pace of scientific research and the abilities of regulatory institutions to keep up with new developments. It draws on the He Jiankui affair and the International Summits on Human Genome Editing as other examples of this problem. The author argues that the ideal solution is an agile regulatory process that can quickly respond to new developments while also being receptive to input from experts and non-experts alike.

Democratic Governance of Human Germline Genome Editing

An international regulatory commission convened by scientific academies is a premature and problematic approach to governing human germline genome editing. Given the complex, international landscape of genome editing and significant cross-national differences among regulatory cultures, deferring to a single commission to set the agenda for global governance raises troublesome questions of framing and representation.

Editorial Aspirations: Human Integrity at the Frontiers of Biology

The Global Observatory for Genome Editing grew out of this event, which took place at Harvard University in 2017. It drew together a diverse group of international leaders, including scientists who made fundamental contributions to the development of CRISPR, the former chair of the German National Ethics Council, a member of the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the director of bioethics at the World Health Organization, the chair of the secretariat on Biomedicine and Human Rights at the Council of Europe, and numerous others.

CRISPR Democracy: Gene Editing and the Need for Inclusive Deliberation

CRISPR raises basic questions about the rightful place of science in governing the future in democratic societies. This editorial argues that the 1975 Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA is a poor model for governance of emerging gene editing technologies. The authors argue that study and deliberation can be steered in more democratic directions by focusing on four themes: envisioning futures, distribution, trust, and provisionality.