No country has yet approved human embryo gene editing

[F]our researchers reviewed policy documents from 106 countries to map out the policy landscape regarding human germline and heritable genome editing, finding that only 11 countries explicitly allow the use of genetically modified in vitro embryos in laboratory research, and that no country allows for the use of such embryos to initiate pregnancies.

The discussion around the social, ethical and policy implications of gene editing is not a new one, and in fact, spans many decades. Here, heritable genome editing refers to genetically modifying embryos, which when transferred to a uterus to initiate a pregnancy, would result in the birth of a child with a modified genome. The child’s descendants would also inherit a genetically modified genome.

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“As the authors point out, this suggests that there may be a greater agreement [and a] greater commonality in terms of approaching that topic than prior analyses have acknowledged or noticed. So when it comes to things like having an international moratorium for example, or having international prohibitions, I think many people think that there’s so much variation across countries that you really can’t develop meaningful international standards, or trans-national standards. I think their research suggests that there may be broader agreement than many commentators or many contributors to this subject have assumed in the past,” [said bioethicist Leigh Turner.]

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