The Ethics of Protecting ‘CRISPR Babies’

You may recall that I’ve established a new research centre at Kent earlier this year. Although the official launch is/was scheduled for September 2022, I’m so pleased to say that journey of making a difference in the world was kicked off by a fantastic international roundtable this March.

On 18 March, I convened an international roundtable as a response to two leading bioethicists, Ruipeng Lei and Renzong Qiu who proposed a ‘special protection’ to be set up in China for the world’s first three genome-edited children, ’a new group of vulnerable population’.

We were fortunate to be supported by the 10 panellists including Robin Lovell-Badge, Sarah Chan, Helen O’Neil, Ayo Wahlberg, Benjamin Hurlbut, Eben Kirksey, Ruipeng Lei, Hubert Kang, patient representative Jay Johnson and Ryan Ferrell who worked with Jiankui He. Six other participants who were involved in these conversations were also invited to attend the meeting.

The discussion identified concrete actions on protecting genome-edited children and (future) individuals in comparable situations, and on how open and inclusive deliberation on this issue can take place in and with China.

Full report can be found here:

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