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For China, a CRISPR first goes too far

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Science  07 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6419, pp. 1091
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6419.1091

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  • RE: No CRISPR regulation in China but in the EU a GVO or no-GVO vicious circle

    A researcher of the Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China, has reported the live birth of twin baby girls with genetically engineered genomes (Science 07 Dec 2018: Vol. 362, Issue 6419, pp. 1091, DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6419.1091). Researchers and ethicists all over the world are now calling for new or revised regulations. Just to recall, few months ago, in Europe, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) published his decision in Case C‑528/16 on the regulative status of organisms derived from newly developed targeted mutagenesis approaches (“Genome Editing”, including CRISPR) but as well of those obtained by whatever kind of mutagenesis techniques. The judgement clearly says that all organisms obtained by whatever kind of mutagenesis are classified as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and thus are subject to the obligations laid down by the GMO Directive 2001/18/EC (press release no 111/18 of the ECJ). However, the judgment exempted organisms from those obligations that were obtained by mutagenesis techniques which have conventionally been used in a number of applications and have a long safety record (press release no 111/18 of the ECJ).

    Since this judgement, an exploding number of statements and commentaries have been published ranging from benevolent approval to scientific nonsense. Most of them have called for European and national GMO laws and regulations to be adapted to the current state of science. According to...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.