Heritable human genome editing - making changes to the genetic material of eggs, sperm, or any cells that lead to their development, including the cells of early embryos, and establishing a pregnancy - raises not only scientific and medical considerations but also a host of ethical, moral, and societal issues. Human embryos whose genomes have been edited should not be used to create a pregnancy until it is established that precise genomic changes can be made reliably and without introducing undesired changes - criteria that have not yet been met, says Heritable Human Genome Editing.
From an international commission of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.K.'s Royal Society, the report considers potential benefits, harms, and uncertainties associated with genome editing technologies and defines a translational pathway from rigorous preclinical research to initial clinical uses, should a country decide to permit such uses. The report specifies stringent preclinical and clinical requirements for establishing safety and efficacy, and for undertaking long-term monitoring of outcomes. Extensive national and international dialogue is needed before any country decides whether to permit clinical use of this technology, according to the report, which identifies essential elements of national and international scientific governance and oversight.