Chinese perception of EU court decision on gene editing


On July 25, 2018 the European Court of Justice decided that gene editing techniques including CRISPR-Cas9 developed after 2001 are subject to the same strict safety regulation with regard to genetically modified organisms. Chinese media have reported about the court verdict and quote undisclosed scientists and entrepreneurs, who call the decision a drawback rather than a breakthrough. The reports compared the EU regulation with Chinese policies and US regulations and conclude that EU has installed by far the strictest regulations that may hinder technological progress in Europe. In China, research in gene editing is given a high priority as it is included in the “13th 5-Year Plan for Biotechnology Innovation”. In the area of agriculture and food several research projects related to CRISPR-Cas9 have been conducted, such as targeted gene editing in soybeans, a project by researchers of the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, the Crop Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Tianjin Academy of Agricultural Sciences. However, Chinese media also point out that in China the use of gene editing so far is largely unregulated.
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