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Sir Paul Nurse calls for public engagement with scientists and Parliament over gene editing

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An article on 'Gene editing: Is era of designer humans getting close', by Fergus Walsh, BBC medical correspondent on the BBC website on 3 December 2015, quotes Sir Paul Nurse's calls for a public debate on gene editing.

Sir Paul Nurse is Chief Executive of the Crick Institute  and was formerly President of the Royal Society. The Francis Crick Institute has applied for a licence to do embryo gene editing to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) - the HFEA commissioned the mitochondrial replacement dialogue supported by Sciencewise. The call for further public engagement potentially builds on the success of the earlier HFEA dialogue. The article describes his views as follows:

"Sir Paul Nurse, director of the Crick, says the research may ultimately lead to improved efficiency of IVF and new treatments to reduce the rate of miscarriages.

He said: 'This will really advance our ability to do research in human cells to understand how they work in health and disease - so it will be hugely significant.'

He also wants a public debate about the potential for gene editing to cure genetic conditions, which he believes might come in the next decade.

'If it's the case, we need to be well prepared for it and that means a proper engagement between the public, scientists and Parliament.

'The good news is that we are the best nation for discussing these issues that I've come across - but the debate must start now.'"

See related project page: Mitochondria Replacement