December 27, 2018 – Following CRISPR Babies

December 21, 2018

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Anchor lead: How should the recently reported CRISPR twins be followed? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Imagine being one of the CRISPR twins, the two babies reportedly born recently with modifications to their DNA made using CRISPR technology. The whole world is watching, and Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins, says the implications are also universal.

Kahn: In the reports both from the US and the UK and I think it’s a kind of shared view across international communities there’s a sense that the first children created this way ought to be followed. There needs to be ongoing follow up and of course that requires consent of the parents until the children are of age to decide for themselves. No one can be committed in advance of their existence that they should be followed for their lifetime or until they reach reproductive age or whatever, so that’s an open question but there certainly needs to be information about them collected to the extent that that’s possible.     :33

Kahn says this is new territory with regard to privacy concerns, and notes that DNA sequencing data is already public. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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