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A researcher watches the CRISPR process. Photo: Gregor Fischer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Following the claims that a Chinese scientist has used CRISPR to create genetically modified twins, the co-inventors of the gene-editing tool, Feng Zhang and Jennifer Doudna, released separate statements that urged caution and called for a moratorium on editing the genes of embryos.

Why it matters: Feng's and Doudna's concerns mirror those of other scientists and bioethicists, namely that the Chinese experiment is not transparent and that gene-editing standards should be set before babies' DNA is altered.

What they're saying: Feng asked for a full "moratorium on implantation of edited embryos ... until we have come up with a thoughtful set of safety requirements first," according to MIT Technology Review.

  • Doudna said in a statement the claims have not been verified in peer-reviewed journals, but if the Chinese CRISPR experiment were confirmed, scientists should "confine the use of gene editing in human embryos to settings where a clear unmet medical need exists, and where no other medical approach is a viable option."

Go deeper

16 mins ago - Health

CDC updates guidance on airborne COVID-19

A patron eats lunch in March at Philippe The Original near downtown Los Angeles. Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The CDC acknowledged Friday that airborne spread of COVID-19 among people more than 6 feet apart "has been repeatedly documented."

Why it matters: This is "a change from the agency’s previous position that most infections were acquired through 'close contact, not airborne transmission,'" the N.Y. Times reports.

11 hours ago - World

Over 170 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem

An injured man is carried away as Israeli security forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

At least 178 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem, Reuters reported late Friday.

The big picture: The clashes come amid growing anger over the threatened eviction of Palestinians from their homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. Tensions have also escalated in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low — Majority back vaccine proof requirements for travel, schools and work — The race to avoid a possible "monster" COVID variant.
  2. Politics: Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations — Americans' return to the skies could benefit smaller airlines.
  5. World: WHO authorizes China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use — Mixed response in Europe to Biden's vaccine patents bombshell.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.