Clinical experiments that use DNA-editing methods to alter the human germline will not be undertaken in the United States until further notice. In a statement issued on May 26, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren wrote in support of suspending the clinical use of these methods that could cause inherited changes in human genes.
Such methods could help treat genetic mutations that lead to health deficiencies developed during gestation or that arise later in life. But there are discussions that people could abuse the technology to enhance preferred traits in their offspring.
“The Administration believes that altering the human germline for clinical purposes is a line that should not be crossed at this time,” Holdren writes on the official White House blog. "The full implications of such a step could not be known until a number of generations had inherited the genetic changes made — and choices made in one country could affect all of us.”
The National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine will jointly hold an international summit this fall to discuss the issue.
[H/T Science News]