The principles of human gene editing were put forward for the first time by the Human Gene Editing Research Committee in its report, "Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance," which was released on Feb. 15.
According to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine established the committee, composed of 22 scholars, and carried out comprehensive research on the science, ethics and governance of editing the human genome after the first International Summit on Human Gene Editing, held in Washington D.C. in December 2015. The team then released its report to the world.
The report divides human gene editing into three categories: Basic Laboratory Research, Somatic Genome Editing and Germline (Heritable) Genome Editing.
Section 1 includes using existing regulatory processes to oversee laboratory research on human genome editing; Section 2 discusses using existing regulatory processes for human gene therapy to oversee somatic human genome editing, limit clinical trials or therapies to treatment and prevention of disease, weigh safety and efficacy against risk and benefit, and require broad public input prior to extending these uses; Section 3 covers permitting clinical research trials only for the purpose of treating or preventing serious disease or disability, and only if there is stringent oversight, ongoing assessment and public participation before any heritable germline editing is carried out.
Duanqing Pei, a researcher with the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was also a member of the committee. Pei participated in the research and discussion.