Global Governance of Human Germline Editing: A Statement by the Marsilius Winter School Participants
Germline editing is a technique that holds immense potential to affect our current society and future generations. Not to be confused with somatic gene therapy, human germline editing involves the application of molecular biological methods, such as CRISPR/Cas9, to edit the genome of germline cells. These edits can then be passed on to future generations. While this technique is very promising to eradicate hereditary diseases and even possibly improve certain traits of the human genome, its use remains highly debated. “Global governance of human germline editing” was the topic of the Marsilius Winter School 2018, which brought together a group of young academics from a variety of disciplines to discuss the issues raised by the potential application of this technology. In a one-week program, experts were invited to present on different aspects of germline genome editing and its governance to the participants of the winter school. The participants worked together to develop a joint position on global governance of human germline editing which is presented in this paper. Overall, a consensus was reached on advising to allow germline genome editing for research and possibly for medical applications under specifically defined circumstances, including an informed public opinion.
 The winter school took place before the first claims of successful germline editing by Jian-kui He became public.