No ethical divide between China and the West in human embryo research

Developing World Bioethics 16 (2):116-120 (2016)

Abstract

This is a discussion of the reaction to the recent research article publication in the journal Protein & Cell by a group of scientists at Sun Yat-sen University using the CRISPR/Cas9 technique on editing non-viable human zygotes. Many commentators condemned the Chinese scientists for overstepping ethical boundaries long accepted in Western countries and accused China of having lax regulations on genomic research in general. We argue that not only did this research follow strict ethical standards and fully comply with current regulations, but China also has a well-developed regulatory framework governing such research comparable to many developed countries. We see the reactions among Western commentators as a misunderstanding of the current situation and an expression of a lack of willingness to acknowledge China as an equal partner in the international debate about proper limits to the development of new biotechnologies.

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Reidar Lie
University of Bergen

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