China has finally laid down the Gene Editing Rules. What is the significance of the same?

Published: June 5, 2019

China has finally agreed with the world scientific community in terms of genetic engineering technology. China had conducted twin experiments to make babies immune to HIV infection by making use of an untested gene editing tool for modifying a particular gene. It was also used on a woman for making a gene-edited embryo. Although there is no stated guidelines the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technique used for disabling the CCR5 gene which encodes a protein which actually allows entry and infection of HIV in cells were regarded as illegal by both the scientific and ethics committees. No clinical trials on humans have ever been conducted in the world so without the use of any prior clinical data or knowledge of side-effects, performing the same on babies like a medical intervention is regarded as unethical. China has now acknowledged the concerns as valid and had proposed a draft regulation making the prior approval by the government as mandatory for conducting clinical trials. Also, the Chinese government will now introduce gene-editing regulation.

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