Reassess the Law and Ethics of Heritable Genome Editing Interventions: Lessons for China and the World

October 1, 2019
Edition: Fall 2019
Volume: 34
Issue: 2
Article: 1

Table of Contents


The current ethical and legal standards for human subjects research do not adequately address human gene editing technologies, because scientific advancements in this field have outpaced regulatory policy. The Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) technique allows the rewriting of life’s code, but is fraught with scientific and ethical quandaries. In particular, the genetic alteration of human embryos in vitro in China has caused worldwide repercussions. It is hard to predict the long-term effects of proposed edits, which raises an inquiry about whether it is appropriate for humans to purposely alter any aspect of their genetic future. Genome editing is moving too quickly for processes of critical reflection, such as law and regulation, to keep pace. The ethical, legal and social implications of the use of these technologies in humans remain uncertain.

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About the Authors

Affiliation: LLM (Soochow); LLM (Groningen); Ph.D. (Birmingham); PGCHET (Queen’s). Dr. Qingxiu has published widely in a variety of areas of law, many of which are themed around law and ethics, with a particular focus on the development of legal infrastructures in China. He joined Sussex Law School in 2013 as Associate Professor, having previously been a lecturer in law at Cardiff Law School, Cardiff University (2007-08) and School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast (2008-13), during which he taught Transnational Business Law at Centre of Transactional Legal Studies (CTLS), Georgetown University as Adjunct Professor. Qingxiu was appointed as Li Kashing Professor of Practice at Faculty of Law, McGill University in 2019. He has held visiting posts at various institutions, including Lund University, Sweden, University College Dublin, Ireland, Tel Aviv University, Israel and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Germany. He worked also as Docent at the Institute of Global Law and Policy (IGLP), Harvard Law School in January 2013 and 2014. Qingxiu has completed four projects funded respectively by the British Academy, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Newton Fund, and British Council (PMI) during the past years.