China seeks to limit gene-editing experiments
Updated 15:58, 01-Mar-2019
By Gong Zhe
Human gene-editing research like He Jiankui's AIDS-proof baby experiment will be further limited in China, as the government pushing forward new regulations that impose stricter approval process and harsher punishment on violations.
China's National Health Commission (NHC) publicized draft regulations on biomedical experiments, asking for public opinions.
The new regulation requires scientists to get approval directly from NHC before carrying out biomedical experiments that are "technically risky, hard or with [a] potentially big impact".
The draft specifically listed "gene-editing" as a type of those experiments.
NHC seeks for public opinions about regulations on biomedical experiments. /Screenshot from NHC

NHC seeks for public opinions about regulations on biomedical experiments. /Screenshot from NHC

Biologists in China may need to consider consequences before they plan to imitate He Jiankui and do experiments in the dark.
Serious violations will result in a lifetime ban on biomedical researches. If the experiment is for-profit, the carriers will be fined 10 to 20 times the profit.
The punishment also expands to medical institutions providing help, and they may face closure of related departments.
Anyone can check the full text of the draft regulation on the NHC website and send opinions to NHC by email ( The draft is only available in the Chinese language.
In late 2018, Chinese biologist He Jiankui claimed he provided technological help to a couple to give birth to the world's first gene-edited babies.
The experiment drew a huge wave of objections from other Chinese biologists and the public.
A government probe found wrongdoings in his process and punishment will be given.
Despite all the wrongdoings he did, as many people pointed out on social media, He "opened the Pandora's box" and humans will have to come up with more ethical rules before the babies grow up. In this way, He may have accelerated the evolution of human biology.
But a lot of people agree that some supervision should be in place for such experiments.
(Top photo credit: VCG)