In the past, I ignored Risch's attempts to belittle and minimize those of us who study the role of the genome in human sexuality and focused on our own research. But given his power as President of the ASHG to derail the entire field, it is time for people to understand the history of his opposition.
The recent call by U.S. scientists for a temporary pause "in the application of germ-line modification for clinical application in humans while the implications of such activity are discussed" has added a new intensity to the debate and reveals a potential bioethical divide between the US and the UK.
No one is prepared for an era when editing DNA is as easy as editing a Microsoft Word document. The government does not have any regulations on editing human DNA. The ethical concerns have not been fleshed out. There is no centralized risk-management inventory, listing which labs are doing what with CRISPR. It's all rather terrifying.