What legislation will govern the use of CRISPR-Cas9?

Publié le 14 Oct, 2015

Tetsuya Ishii, bioethicist at Sapporo Hokkaido University in Japan has spent a year analysing the legislation of thirty-nine countries regarding genome modifications. He presents the conclusions of his investigation.


Twenty-nine of these thirty-nine countries have a restrictive legislative framework, which reserves genome changes for clinical uses. However, out of these twenty-nine countries, several are not actually banning the use of this technique.  Such is the case in China, Japan or even India. “In truth, we have rules but some people never follow them”, explained Qi Zhou, biologist at the Chinese Academy of the Institute of Zoological Sciences in Beijing.


In nine other countries, including Russia and Argentina, legislation on this subject matter is “ambiguous”. Ishii stresses that the position of the United States, which prohibits any federal financing for research involving human embryos without officially banning the use of CRISPR-Cas9, is equally ambiguous.


Ishii has noted that in countries such as France and Australia where genome editing is completely prohibited, research is often authorised provided that numerous restrictions apply and the aim is not to generate births.

Finally, many scientists are calling for the creation of international regulations governing genome editing.  The American National Academy intends to organise an international summit meeting in December in order to discuss recommendations for the responsible use of CRISPR in 2016.


 For Ishii, the first countries to use CRISPR for clinical purposes will be countries that have a high in-vitro fertilisation birth rate such as Japan.



Nature (13/10/2015)

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