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Cover of Human Genome Editing

Human Genome Editing

Science, Ethics, and Governance

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Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); .
ISBN-13: 978-0-309-45288-5ISBN-10: 0-309-45288-0

Genome editing is a powerful new tool for making precise alterations to an organism's genetic material. Recent scientific advances have made genome editing more efficient, precise, and flexible than ever before. These advances have spurred an explosion of interest from around the globe in the possible ways in which genome editing can improve human health. The speed at which these technologies are being developed and applied has led many policymakers and stakeholders to express concern about whether appropriate systems are in place to govern these technologies and how and when the public should be engaged in these decisions.

Human Genome Editing considers important questions about the human application of genome editing including: balancing potential benefits with unintended risks, governing the use of genome editing, incorporating societal values into clinical applications and policy decisions, and respecting the inevitable differences across nations and cultures that will shape how and whether to use these new technologies. This report proposes criteria for heritable germline editing, provides conclusions on the crucial need for public education and engagement, and presents 7 general principles for the governance of human genome editing.


This activity was supported by Contract No. HHSP233201400020B/HHSP23337045 with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Greenwall Foundation, Grant No. 15-108819-000-DIS with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Contract No. HHSP233201400020B/HHSP23337035 with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Wellcome Trust, with additional support from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Presidents' Circle Fund and the National Academy of Sciences W.K. Kellogg Foundation Fund. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

Suggested citation:

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi:

Copyright 2017 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Bookshelf ID: NBK447270PMID: 28796468DOI: 10.17226/24623


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