The NIH director called for a worldwide clampdown on gene editing of human embryos amid the uproar over a Chinese scientist who claims to have created genetically engineered twin girls.

“The need for development of binding international consensus on setting limits for this kind of research, now being debated in Hong Kong, has never been more apparent,” Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said in a Nov. 28 statement. “Without such limits, the world will face...