In England, the Academy of Medical Science (AST), and several counsels and associations signed on September 2, 2011 a common declaration supporting research and financing for genetic modification, notably those related to the technique known as “CRISPR/ cas9”.

These techniques are promising and are rapidly progressing. The authors call for continuing these researches and promoting them. But they also solicit a widespread debate among scientific and ethical researchers, patients and their families, legislators and the general public on the manner that these emerging techniques of the future could be used clinically, to treat or prevent serious genetic diseases.

The possibility of genetic modification also concerns the human embryo at the development stage and the germinal cells (ovules, spermatozoids). In particular, these techniques raise ethical questions, about the risks of their impact on following generations, which must be anticipated and rapidly explored.

Authors: The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), The Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) Medical Research Council (MRC) The Wellcome Trust, the Biotechology and Biological sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

Further information: Common declaration