Beijing has drafted new rules for scientists using DNA-editing technology after a Chinese researcher announced the birth of the first gene-edited babies late last year, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Labs will need permits from China’s state health ministry before conducting gene-editing procedures on humans, the rules stated, indicating large fines for any violators.
Chinese scientists lead the world in gene-editing techniques but have so far benefited from a much looser regulatory environment. Until now, hospitals themselves were free to give the go-ahead for new procedures whereas the US has always required federal permission.
The new rules could threaten the rapid growth of China’s biotechnology and healthcare industries, which are considered priority sectors under Beijing’s Made in China 2025 reform program.