CRISPR in Humans? Publication by Darian Meacham

Darian Meacham and Matthias Braun (FAU) have published a commentary in EMBO Reports on the announcement that CRISPR gene-editing tools had been used to modify the genome of babies born in China. They argue that the debate needs to go beyond issues concerning safety and informed consent to include difficult questions about inequality, risk-sharing, and vulnerability.

In November 2018, the Chinese researcher Jiankui He claimed that he and his colleagues had gene‐edited human embryos, resulting in the birth of twins with a modified genome. His announcement was met with near universal denunciation by leading scientists, ethicists, and policymakers from all over the world, including his home institution, the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen. Notwithstanding some nuances, they all condemned He’s work on scientific and ethical grounds. A total of 122 Chinese scientists issued an open statement that “this presents a major blow to the image and development of Chinese life sciences on the global stage […] and is extremely unfair for the many honest and sincere scholars working to adhere to moral practices in the sciences” ( The Chinese vice minister for science and technology also weighed in: “The genetically edited infant incident reported by media blatantly violated China’s relevant laws and regulations. It has also violated the ethical bottom line that the academic community adheres to. It is shocking and unacceptable” ( As a result, the Chinese government pledged to launch a criminal investigation. In a nutshell, a Chinese researcher who was ensnared by the promise of ground‐breaking work made an inexcusable mistake. Across the board, a central message was that He’s work was a breach of trust—as for example George Church argues [1].

But this is only one part of the picture….

Submit your comment

Please enter your name

Your name is required

Please enter a valid email address

An email address is required

Please enter your message

FASoS Weekly © 2020 All Rights Reserved

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress