‘Don’t try this at home’: New California law targets biohacking, do-it-yourself CRISPR

| | August 15, 2019
Image: The Odin
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California wants to make it clear that tinkering with your own genes is a “don’t try this at home” sort of thing.

The state is making it illegal to sell a do-it-yourself genetic engineering kit unless it comes with a clear warning stating that “the kit is not for self-administration.” This is a notable escalation of an effort to regulate biohacking, a movement that’s gotten people interested in hacking their genomes.

The term “biohacking” can cover a huge range of activities, from performing science experiments on yeast, to actually changing your biology by implanting computer chips into your limbs, taking nootropics or “smart drugs,” giving yourself a fecal transplant, pumping a younger person’s blood into your veins in the hope that it’ll fight aging, and more. 

It’s unclear how much good this law will do, if and when a CRISPR kit that targets human genes reappears on the market. Biohackers who are determined to “optimize” or “upgrade” their bodies may be unlikely to be dissuaded by a warning label. What is clear is that some lawmakers are getting nervous about biohacking, and they think more regulation is the answer.

Read full, original post: Is it time to regulate biohacking? California thinks so

Related article:  Australia adopts relaxed CRISPR gene-editing rules, 'middle ground' between US, EU extremes
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