New Report Sets Guidelines For Genome Editing | WYPR

New Report Sets Guidelines For Genome Editing

Feb 15, 2017

*This edition of Midday was shortened to accommodate NPR's special coverage of President Trump's press conference with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 

Dr. Jeff Kahn is the Director of Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.
Credit Johns Hopkins University

Genome editing, that is the ability to make additions, deletions, and alterations to the genome of a human or animal, is not a new. Scientists have been experimenting with it in labs for a while to better understand the way some diseases and disabilities work. But now a new report released yesterday from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine sets international guidelines for genome editing. New editing tools like CRISPR have opened up the doors for more lab and clinical research projects. The scientists behind the report hope their guidelines will serve as a roadmap to help other scientists avoid the ethical concerns associated with gene editing.

The report does not recommend the type of gene modification that could make a person faster or stronger or "enhance" their offspring, but scientists do see room in the future for the type of experiments and research that could lead to cures for congenital diseases. So what’s the future of genome editing and where do scientists draw the line? Dr. Jeffrey Kahn served on the committee that wrote the report. He’s the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics  he joins Tom to talk about the brave new world of genome editing.