Govt. panel to not regulate some genome editing

Govt. panel to not regulate some genome editing

A government panel has decided not to regulate some genome editing procedures.

The latest technology involves changing an organism’s genomes by targeting a specific location in the DNA sequence and causing a mutation.

The method of inserting new genes into an intended site is spreading quickly as it allows efficient selective breeding of plants and animals.

The panel decided that the regulation governing genetic recombination would apply to organisms that have had new genes inserted into a targeted location.

However, the panel says the regulation will not apply to genome editing in which mutations are produced at a targeted site without new genes inserted.

It will also not apply to cases in which nothing remains of the inserted gene and its derivative in the final products, even if the organism is genetically recombined temporarily.

The panel, however, has set a condition for these cases to which the regulation will not be applied. It says if organisms are kept or grown outdoors in the beginning, researchers will be required to provide data to the government about how the genes were altered.

In other countries, the United States has decided not to particularly restrict any of the methods of genome editing. But in Europe, the EU’s court of justice calls for the application of the same rules governing genetic recombination to genome editing.

Japan’s government plans to convene a meeting of experts including lawyers to continue looking into the panel’s conclusion.

Hideharu Anazawa of the Japan Bioindustry Association says there are few risks associated with genome editing and that stricter regulations are unthinkable. He says the panel’s conclusion appropriately reflects the risks of genome editing.

The secretary-general of the Consumers Union of Japan, Michiyo Koketsu, says the quantity and quality of genome editing is absolutely different from sudden mutations that occur in nature. She says even though the latest technology is said to be able to make intended alternations, unintended changes may occur, and that the panel has underestimated such risks. She says more careful discussions are needed taking the point of view of consumers into consideration.


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