CRISPR Babies: A Catalog of Noteworthy Commentary and Analysis

December 19, 2018
In this Medium post, Val Giddings tracks the misguided saga of the first CRISPR babies, produced by rogue Chinese scientist He Jianki, revealed in November, 2018.

A rogue Chinese scientist announced on 25 November, 2018, that he had produced the world’s first two babies in whom CRISPR had been used deliberately to alter their genomes in a heritable manner, with at least one more already on the way. His purpose was ostensibly to protect them against HIV transmission from an infected father, but his actions ignored nearly universal principles militating against such applications unless no other remedies were available, which was not the case. This precipitated an instantaneous global firestorm of condemnation and concern by scientists and thought leaders in reaction. Numerous concerted efforts were launched to make sure such miscarriages of scientific capability do not recur, and the powerful potential of this technology to benefit humanity is not undermined by further ill-considered adventurism. Key developments and analyses are compiled in this post, frequently updated to provide a reliable and current overview of the landscape.