China: Genetic Engineering

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 30th January 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the World Health Organisation about the ethical issues and potential long-term risks associated with gene-edited babies born in China.

Photo of Baroness Manzoor Baroness Manzoor Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

There are conflicting media reports on claims of genetic modification in China. We will continue to monitor the situation. We have had no discussion with the Chinese Government or World Health Organization regarding the ethical issues and risks associated with the gene-edited babies born in China. The procedure alleged to have been carried out by Prof He Jiankui in China would be illegal in the United Kingdom. It would be an offence under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, punishable, on conviction, by a prison term of up to 10 years, a fine or both.

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