Legality of Embryonic Gene Editing in Australia.J Law Med. 2018 Dec; 26(2):356-373.JL
The CRISPR-cas9 genome editing system (CRISPR) has been used to make precise and heritable changes to a diverse range of animals. The use of CRISPR to edit embryonic cells initially raised widespread criticism and calls for an international ban. However, the rapid development of genome editing has prompted governments around the world to review the regulatory frameworks that oversee genetic technologies. In Australia, the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2002 (Cth) and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 (Cth) expressly regulate the use of genome editing in early human embryos. This article analyses how these two Acts regulate research involving CRISPR and the implications of this for research practices in Australia. We argue that, given the current regulatory uncertainty around the legality of genome editing research in Australia, legislative reform is needed and propose reforms to provide greater clarity in this area.