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China set to introduce gene-editing regulation following CRISPR-baby furore

May 20, 2019

By Nature.com

China is poised to introduce a new regulation on gene editing in humans. A draft of the country’s new civil code lists human genes and embryos in a section on personality rights to be protected. Experiments on genes in adults or embryos that endanger human health or violate ethical norms can accordingly be seen as a violation of a person’s fundamental rights.

Lawyers say the regulation would mean that anyone who manipulates genes in humans is responsible for what happens to a person. “The law makes clear that those who do research with human genes and embryos cannot endanger human health or violate ethics,” says Zhang Peng, a criminal-law scholar at Beijing Wuzi University.

China has been revising its civil code — the overarching legal framework that governs non-criminal disputes in areas such as marriage, inheritance and personal rights — since 2002. The latest draft was submitted last month to the country’s chief legislative body, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, and is likely to be adopted next March.

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