Stephen Buranyi is a science writer based in London. A former researcher in immunology, he is also a visiting lecturer at the ESCP Europe Business School. (March 2019)

Follow Stephen Buranyi on Twitter: @stephenburanyi.

NYR DAILY

What Is the World to Do About Gene-Editing?

Gene-editing researcher He Jiankui with staff at the Direct Genomics Laboratory, Shenzhen, China, August 4, 2016

He Jiankui’s announcement that in November that he had created the first two gene-edited humans in history was met with universal condemnation. Hundreds of Chinese scientists signed a letter calling the research “crazy,” CRISPR’s co-creator, Jennifer Doudna, said she was “horrified,” and Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes for Health, labeled it “profoundly disturbing.” If everyone can agree He crossed some kind of line, the questions of what that line is and where it should be are still open. The disturbing thing about the aftermath of the He affair is that a reckoning with these questions hasn’t happened.