Sometime very soon the first humans to be genetically edited will be born, and the United States just paved the way.
In December 2015, scientists and ethicists at an international meeting held at the NAS in Washington said it would be “irresponsible” to use gene editing technology in human embryos for therapeutic purposes, such as to correct genetic diseases, until safety and efficacy issues are resolved.
On February 14th, 2017; the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine issued a report outlining the permissible circumstances upon which the research into editing human embryos could be conducted.
Their latest statement signals that the NAS is softening its approach, to the use of gene-editing technology such as CRISPR-CAS9.
Previously genome editing was already being planned for use in clinical trials on people to correct diseases. However, the primary concern is over the utilization of the technology in human reproductive cells or early embryos because the changes would be passed along to offspring.
Although gene editing of human reproductive cells to correct inherited diseases “must be approached with caution, caution does not mean prohibition,” the committee said in a statement.
The rise in genome editing signals the real end of the human being. Simply put, directly after the first genome alteration and birth, the natural genome would be something entirely man-made.