Jennifer Doudna: It’s a complicated issue because science is global, of course, and people are working in every part of the world now using CRISPR-Cas9 technology, as well as many other technologies. And how do we create a regulatory framework that people will honor in these different jurisdictions? How do we create even a community of scientists where there’s kind of a code of ethics that everybody would buy into?
In my view, it really does have to begin with kind of a grassroots effort. It has to begin with scientists coming together and discussing these topics, and I’ve been involved in convening meetings around this. Fortunately, I think that idea has really spread in the genome editing field to include now people — not just scientists — but also people that are stakeholders, whether they be patients with genetic diseases, or clinicians that hope to use this in the future, or agricultural scientists who want to use it in plants and other types of applications.
So we are seeing a pretty broad cohort of people that are starting to attend these meetings and are interested in the topic. But I think the real challenge ahead is to figure out how to put all of that effort and energy into a cohesive document or consensus kind of opinion piece that people could buy into.