National Academies Press: OpenBook

Heritable Human Genome Editing (2020)

Chapter: The National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society

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Suggested Citation:"The National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society ." National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society. 2020. Heritable Human Genome Editing. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25665.
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The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia K. McNutt is president. Learn more about the National Academy of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences at www.nationalacademies.org. The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists. Its members are drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. It is the national academy of science in the United Kingdom. The Society’s fundamental purpose, reflected in its founding Charters of the 1660s, is to recognize, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development of use of science for the benefit of humanity. Learn more about the Royal Society at www.royalsociety.org. Consensus Study Reports document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the authoring institutions on the statement of task. PREPUBLICATION COPY | UNCORRECTED PROOFS

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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.

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