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Expert panel lays out guidelines for germline editing, while warning against pursuit of ‘CRISPR babies’

Nearly two years after the birth of the first “CRISPR babies” stunned the world, an international group of experts on Thursday warned such human experimentation — in which the DNA of embryos is edited before starting pregnancies — should not be conducted because of unresolved scientific and ethical issues. But the group’s eagerly awaited report detailed the steps that scientists should go through before attempting to create gene-edited babies should countries ever greenlight the procedure.

The report also called for creating a pathway for researchers to raise concerns about genome editing pursuits they consider to be unethical. A number of scientists around the world knew in advance that a Chinese scientist was planning to start pregnancies with altered embryos in 2018 but failed to inform government or scientific authorities.

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