In DepthBiology

China tightens rules on gene editing

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Science  08 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6431, pp. 1023
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6431.1023-b

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Responding to the outcry over the news that one of its scientists produced genetically altered babies, the Chinese government last week issued draft regulations that would require national approval for clinical research involving gene editing and other "high-risk biomedical technologies." The need for new regulations was highlighted in November 2018 when He Jiankui, then of Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, announced that he had used the CRISPR genome-editing system to alter the DNA of embryos in order to make them resistant to HIV. Most countries ban such germline engineering, which creates changes that are passed to future generations. Chinese researchers generally welcome the increased oversight, but some worry the rules could hamper less controversial areas of research.