China drafts rules on biotech after gene editing scandal

BEIJING (AP) — China has unveiled draft regulations on gene-editing and other new biomedical technologies it considers to be “high-risk.”

The measures follow claims in November 2018 by Chinese scientist He Jiankui that he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies. That roiled the global science community and elicited widespread outcry over the procedure’s ethical implications.

Gene editing for reproductive purposes is effectively banned in the U.S. and most of Europe. In China, ministerial guidelines prohibit embryo research that “violates ethical or moral principles,” but no law specifically forbids gene editing.

Under the proposed measures released Tuesday, technology involving gene editing, gene transfer and gene regulation would be categorized as “high-risk” and placed under the authority of the State Council, China’s Cabinet.

State media reported last month that He violated national guidelines.

By Associated Press