Eminent Scientists Call For Ban On Gene Editing Technique That Can Alter...

Eminent Scientists Call For Ban On Gene Editing Technique That Can Alter Human DNA


Scientists from the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) have called for a worldwide ban on the use of a gene editing technique that could alter human DNA across generations. They fear the technique, which is called Crispr-Cas9, may be used in unsafe or unethical ways.

The DNA altering technique, Crispr-Cas9, has been developed by researchers at the University of Berkeley. The genome-editing method is so scientifically simple, cheap and powerful that it is widely seen as a promising key to treating serious genetic diseases as well as AIDS and many cancers. It has already inspired the start of a new biotechnology industry.

However, eminent scientists believe that the technique could also be applied to enhance human genetic traits, which raised serious ethical concerns.

Nobel laureates, David Baltimore of the California Institute of Technology, and Paul Berg of Stanford University and sixteen other medical experts have come together to issue a warning against the technique.

The group released a report, which stated: “Given the speed with which the genome engineering field is evolving, our group concluded that there is an urgent need for open discussion of the merits and risks of human genome modification by a broad cohort of scientists, clinicians, social scientists, the general public and relevant public entities and interest groups. We must ban attempts to create genetically altered humans before the technique is fully understood.”

Throughout the world, many countries have already banned any DNA editing which can be passed from one generation to the next. The United States has established regulations that would hold back such developments from being realized for years or decades. However, laws in some nations could allow for the creation of ‘designer babies’ in the near future, driving the authors to call for a moratorium on research from scientists.

“You could exert control over human heredity with this technique, and that is why we are raising the issue. Some countries have poor regulation or none at all. The proposed ban was designed to keep people from doing anything crazy,” added Baltimore.

The report calling the ban was published in the Science journal.

  • disqus_ucIWLiTToR

    Right. Study it for decades then do nothing…

  • John Gabriel

    Now “scientists” want bans on gene editing? That’s totally absurd. How can it be bad when faulty inherited genes can be fixed? If it altered the human race for the better, isn’t that also a good thing too?

    Oh, I thought these geneticist clowns believe in evolution and now they have different opinions? I wonder when did they acquire “ethics”?

    There should be no bans on gene editing. Research should move ahead full speed. The benefits far outweigh the problems.

    Don’t let religious scientists interfere with this process.

    We decide what is ethical or not. We decide what is right or wrong. We are god.


  • Independent Observer

    So humans with wings are out of the question? Extra arm? Bigger peepee? How can these damn scientists deprive us of these things!

  • bachcole

    I presume that were are being facetious. There should be a committee to look and decide about these things. Obviously fixing broken DNA would be acceptable. Making super-warriors would not.

  • Leon Redgrave


  • James Kilpatrick

    Your right we are god. Not you or me, so we have to decide together whether we risk potential extinction resulting from the misuse of gene modification. In exchange for God like abilities for a few of us.

    If people become separate genetically we can’t breed with one another. We would really completely on our tech to procreate at that point. Then we would lose one of the main things it means to be human. Having children, a real family. If our tech ever failed so would we,

    But that is just the extreme scenario you know.

    I personally don’t like the idea of gene bending. But hey to each his own, just don’t modify me or mine with a virus or something. Ow yeah that would be easy for a terrorist to do once the tech got good. Turn everyone into weak minded sterile little slaves with a gene-bomb.

    I am more of a naturalist myself though. I think nature has a good thing going on here I just hope we don’t screw it up.

  • John Gabriel

    “I think nature has a good thing going on here I just hope we don’t screw it up.”

    Sorry, too late for that! Nature has already been screwed up.

  • John Gabriel

    Why would making super-warriors not be acceptable? Of course it would, not only acceptable, but desirable.

  • bachcole

    Such an attitude completely bypasses the intrinsic worth of the person. Perhaps that person did not want to be a super-warrior.

    I won’t be voting for you to be on the Board of DNA Healing Examiners.

  • James Kilpatrick

    Not irreparably but with in the next few decades yes. Humans only occupy 3% of the land mass. In other words all our stuff is on 3%. You could give everyone 1000 sq. feet and fit them in Arizona. This place is huge. Take a plane trip and look down almost all wilderness. We have made a pretty big impact but nothing that can’t be overall repaired so far. Sorry you are misinformed it is not to late for that.

  • James Kilpatrick

    Yes make super warriors so we can force everyone to obey. That would be awesome. We would like live in a utopia created from total fear. That just sounds wonderful…

  • James Kilpatrick

    If nature is broken just go fix it all with gene bending. That’s like giving a 5 year old a surgeons kit and saying I need you to transplant my heart.

    If you think nature is screwed now. Let a human screw with it at it’s core and see what happens. I guarantee you it won’t be pretty. Just look at what we do now, with like well … everything.

    But if it is worth most likely screwing the genetics of this planet up. To play god. Then by all means your free to make your choices just like I am.

    I am sure nature will cull out all the mods over a hundred or so years.

  • oldmoal

    How is gene “surgery” any less ethical than cosmetic surgery? Both have very necessary good results, both have frivolous uses. what happens when both are combined?