The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
HUMAN GENE-EDITING INITIATIVE

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Introduction

The National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine launched this initiative in 2015 to inform decision-making related to recent advances in human genome-editing research. The inaugural activity, in December 2015, was the First International Summit on Human Gene Editing. The summit was followed by a consensus study on the scientific underpinnings of human genome-editing technologies, their potential use in biomedical research and medicine, and the clinical, ethical, legal, and social implications of their use.

Read the proceedings of the summit, the consensus study, and learn about related Academies’ studies and reports on genetic research.


Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing To Be Held in Hong Kong  

The Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing will take place Nov. 27-29, 2018, in Hong Kong. The three-day summit will be co-hosted by the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, the Royal Society of London, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. National Academy of Medicine. The summit will be held in the Lee Shau Kee Lecture Centre at the University of Hong Kong and be webcast live.

The science of human genome editing has advanced rapidly since the first international summit was held in 2015 in Washington, D.C. An explosion of new research is employing CRISPR/Cas9 and other powerful, precise editing tools, and clinical trials are planned for applications to treat diseases. However, many questions remain unanswered concerning the science, application, ethics, and governance of human genome editing. Of particular concern is the possibility of genome editing that might lead to heritable alterations, and applications for purposes other than to treat diseases or disabilities.

The Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing will continue to advance the global discussion on these issues by bringing together a broad range of stakeholders — including researchers, ethicists, policy makers, patient groups, and representatives from science and medical academies and organizations worldwide. The four Academies are appointing an international, multidisciplinary program committee to plan the summit and develop the agenda.

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About This Initiative

Powerful new gene-editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9, hold great promise for advancing science and treating disease, but they also raise concerns and present complex challenges, particularly because of their potential to be used to make genetic changes that could be passed on to future generations, thereby modifying the human germline.

In keeping with the Academies' past leadership on controversial new areas of genetic research, such as recombinant DNA technology, human embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and “gain-of-function” research, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine's human gene-editing initiative will provide researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and societies around the world with a comprehensive understanding of human gene editing to help inform decision-making about this research and its application.

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