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International commission on the clinical use of human germline genome editing

Kay Davies (left) and Richard Lifton (second from left), co-chairs of the International Commission on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing

An International Commission was convened by the Royal Society, the US National Academy of Sciences and the US National Academy of Medicine, with the participation of academies of sciences and medicine from around the world. The commission’s aim was to develop principles, criteria and standards for the clinical use of genome editing of the human germline, should it be considered to be acceptable by society. Read more.

The final report is available to download.

Meetings

2nd Commission meeting

14 — 15 November 2019, London

The second meeting of the commission took place on 14 November at the National Gallery and 15 November at the Royal Society. 

Catch up on the Day 1 livestream

Catch up on the Day 2 livestream

View the agenda (PDF)

1st Commission meeting

13 August 2019, Washington, DC

The first meeting of the commission took place at the National Academy of Sciences building in Washington, DC, on 13 August 2019. Recordings and presentations from this meeting can be accessed from the US National Academies’ website.

Public call for evidence

To inform its deliberations, the commission engaged with external expertise and invited responses to a public call for evidence during September 2019. The questions used in the public call for evidence are available to download (PDF).

The US National Academies will list all written submissions in a Public Access File (PAF) established for the International Commission. These submissions will be made available to the public upon request, for more information visit the US National Academies’ website.

Webinars

In addition to the public meetings, webinar presentations were given by leading academics from around the world to inform the state of research into germline genome editing. Video recordings from each of these webinars (listed below) can be viewed from the US National Academies’ website.

15 October 2019: Webinar on validating on-target and off-target edits, featuring Jin-Soo Kim, Seoul National University. 

9 October 2019: Webinar on homology directed repair and single cell genomics, featuring Shoukhrat Mitalipov, Oregon Health & Science University and Xiaoliang Sunney Xie, Peking University.

7 October 2019: Webinar on the impact of editing on embryo viability and editing spermatogonial stem cells, featuring Kathy Niakan, Francis Crick Institute and Kyle Orwig, Magee-Womens Research Institute. 

4 October 2019: Webinar on informed consent in the context of germline genome editing, featuring Ellen Clayton, Vanderbilt University and Robert Klitzman, Columbia University.

Background

This International Commission was established following the reported birth of the first genetically edited babies announced in November 2018 during the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong. This unprecedented report was criticised at the time by the summit organising committee, who recommended the development of a translational pathway for human germline editing (editing that would be inherited by subsequent generations) based upon criteria articulated in guidance documents published over the past three years. 

The work of the international commission was overseen by an international oversight board, made up of leaders from national academies of sciences and international institutions. They approved membership of the commission and its Statement of Task, and ensured that it followed due processes. They also approved an expert review panel for the commission’s final report including its findings and recommendations, which were published in September 2020. The Commission's report is available to download.

The Royal Society and the US National Academies were the secretariat of the commission, which included representatives from 10 nations. Kay Davies FRS, professor of genetics at the MDUK Oxford Neuromuscular Centre at the University of Oxford, and Richard Lifton, president of the Rockefeller University in New York City, USA, were co-chairs of the commission. 

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