Viewpoint: Why the West should worry about losing the gene-editing race

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I fear that the West is losing today’s version of the “space race” — this one to use and control gene editing. That worries me because the nations that gain control of the most effective gene-editing technologies will, quite literally, control the world.

Scientists in [East Asia] are receiving unprecedented amounts of government support. The Chinese government, for example, is rumored to be investing $300 billion in gene-editing technologies, and China’s Natural Science Foundation has funded nearly 300 projects in the past four years.

As Eastern Asian countries put the pedal to the metal with billions of dollars and an army of Ph.D. scientists, the United States is barely keeping pace in furthering gene-editing research and deploying gene editing. Europe, as usual, is seating itself on the sidelines by harshly regulating, if not outright banning, gene-editing technologies from its territory.

Related article:  Europe’s biodiversity faces grave threats, while pro-organic farm policies offer inadequate solutions

The pendulum will continue to swing in Asia’s direction unless the West wakes up and acknowledges that something must be done about it.

What can be done? The West’s emphasis on regulation — and overregulation — is leaving us far behind countries whose governments are more open to the idea of unrestricted or less-restricted research. We must be willing to ease up on the burdensome restrictions that make it difficult to operate clinical trials or conduct gene-editing studies.

Read full, original post: The West is losing the gene editing race. It needs to catch up

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