Alarmed by new ‘CRISPR babies’ plan, top science figures say they’re powerless to stop it

Outraged by a new plan to create "CRISPR babies" in Russia, leading science figures concede that their organizations are powerless to stop it.
Dr. Margaret Hamburg serves as co-chair of an international advisory committee on human genome-editing. Source: J. David Ake/AP

ASPEN, Colo. — Two influential leaders in science for the first time publicly condemned a Russian biologist who said he plans to produce gene-edited babies but conceded that it was beyond their organizations’ authority to halt him from doing so.

In separate interviews with STAT over the weekend, Margaret Hamburg, co-chair of an international advisory committee on human genome-editing, and Victor Dzau, president of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, said they were deeply concerned by the plans outlined by Russian scientist Denis Rebrikov.

Still, said Hamburg, “I don’t know where we get the

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from STAT

STAT4 min readSociety
Opinion: It’s Time To Change The Definition Of ‘Health’
Rather than pursuing the "absence" of disease, we need a more inclusive definition of health — one that works for more people.
STAT4 min read
Opinion: State Drug Importation Programs Will Work With The FDA, Not Outside Of It
State programs can use the global pharmaceutical supply chain to relieve the sometimes crushing financial burden of drug treatments — at least until we have an effective national approach to…
STAT5 min read
Opinion: I Wanted To Try Medical Marijuana. Why Couldn’t My Doctors Help Me?
Until we make it easier to study the effects of #medicalmarijuana and #cannabis, and train doctors about its benefits and risks, people who could benefit from it will continue to…