Friday, February 12, 2016
Gene Editing Permitted in Britain
New York Times (Feb. 2, 2016): Britain Allows New Method to Edit Genes, by Nicholas Wade:
Gene editing refers to cutting and pasting DNA in and out of human embryos, eggs and sperm. Used for reproductive purposes, these alterations would be passed down to subsequent generations. A voluntary worldwide moratorium on making changes to DNA that could be passed down in this way, issued by the United States, Britain and China in December, will remain in place even after the British government's recent decision to allow gene editing of embryos that will not be implanted in a womb. Researchers want to study "the cascade of genetic switches" thrown during a pre-embryo's progression through its first few divisions. The research may lead to new and better ways to treat infertility, but the news also figures prominently in the anxious message of researchers that countries should tailor their regulations in order to become stronger competitors in the global race to be first in making advances in reproductive biology.