World needs international agreement on genome editing regulations

| | October 8, 2015
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The ability to edit a genome as easily as cutting-and-pasting with a word processor is quickly becoming a world-changing, moneymaking technology. Just about every scientist working with agrees on that. But as to the rules guiding what they are and aren’t allowed to do with it? That’s a different story.

It’s a story, though, that those researchers are trying to tell — especially at an international meeting in Washington DC that has attracted most of the major players from the U.S., Europe, and even China, where many of the ethical edge cases have made their way out of labs. That work is on everyone’s minds, from an attempt to work with human embryos to the recent word of customized pet micro-pigs.

The pigs, from the genomics institute BGI in Shenzhen, got a lot of headlines. Everyone loves cute little piggies. But they also caught a lot of international flack.

Chinese scientists are using Crispr techniques on monkeys, pigs, goats, rats, silkworm, and wheat, according to Duanqing Pei, director of the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, who also was at the Washington meeting. Right now, the Chinese government allows its scientists to create human embryos for research purposes; the NIH does not, and doesn’t fund that kind of work.

Read full, original post: Science would like some rules for genome editing, please

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