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Academics call for regulations to jumpstart human gene editing in South Africa


Medical council is drawing up a framework, but has said Covid-19 delayed the process

Current ethical and legal hurdles should be addressed to pave the way for reproductive human gene editing in South Africa, academics from KwaZulu-Natal argue in a paper.

This would open the way for research into reproductive gene editing through legal routes that allow it “in principle”, they say in the South African Journal of Science this week. Such research, known as human germline editing, could prevent genetic illnesses being inherited by children. However, its non-therapeutic use is highly controversial.

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