As representatives of the Committee of Genome Editing of the Genetics Society of China and of the Chinese Society for Stem Cell Research, we were shocked by He Jiankui’s claims last month that twin girls were born from embryos that were gene-edited for HIV resistance (Nature 563, 607–608; 2018). Such work would violate the current code of conduct from China’s ministry of health, as well as internationally accepted ethical guidelines (see go.nature.com/2erqwpc).
The consensus of the international scientific community, including Chinese researchers in genome editing, is that engineering the human germline for reproductive purposes should be forbidden until the scientific issues have been resolved and there is broad social agreement. China has clear regulations specifying that human embryos with genetic modifications cannot be implanted, in agreement with regulations adopted worldwide.
Genome editing in somatic cells holds promise for treating many genetic diseases. This powerful technology must not be abused or allowed to undermine the trust of regulators and the public in responsible scientific research.
Nature 564, 345 (2018)