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Paper sparks regulatory debate on genetic editing

Scientists have spoken out both for and against a moratorium on the genetic editing of human embryos, after Chinese researchers published the results of the first study involving the genetic modification of fertilised embryos.

On 18 April, research by scientists from the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou using gene-editing technology was published in the journal Protein & Cell. In response, science groups have called for a moratorium on all research that uses genetic editing techniques on human embryos.

The Society for Developmental Biology in the United States said its board of directors was “very concerned” about the published study. “Such studies raise deep ethical concerns on their own, and in addition could lead to unanticipated consequences if manipulated embryos were implanted into a womb and allowed to develop to term,” the society said.

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