The Daily Manila Shimbun


Japan team wants regulations on gene editing of human eggs

April 15, 2019

Tokyo--A team of a Japanese government panel Monday broadly agreed on the need to consider regulations to ban the genome editing of fertilized human eggs for childbirth.

After a meeting of the specialist panel on bioethics on April 22, the government will start discussing details mainly at the health ministry and produce a report around autumn.

Under guidelines implemented this month, the government tolerates the gene editing of fertilized eggs only for basic research on fertility treatment.

Returning gene-edited eggs to wombs is prohibited on concerns about possible health problems with the children. Discussions did not advance, however, on whether to set legal rules.

After global criticism of a Chinese researcher who engineered the birth of gene-edited twins, the World Health Organization launched discussions on international rules. The government has leaned toward creating regulations against the backdrop.

Problems with gene editing include possible alterations to genes other than the targets. The alterations are passed on to offspring.

The gene editing technology could also create so-called designer babies whose genes are altered so that they have characteristics desired by the parents.

Germany and France ban the gene editing of fertilized human eggs. Jiji Press