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Differing Perspectives

Since gene-edited organisms like mosquitos could conceivably cross borders between one country at ease with the technology to one more suspicious of it, Gizmodo asks whether there need to be international regulations for genetic engineering.

Gizmodo's Kristen Brown notes, though, that "[i]t's hard to imagine what such a framework might even look like" as the attitudes of different countries toward genetic engineering vary. For instance, genetically modified crops considered perfectly safe in the US, but are banned in France, Germany, and Zimbabwe, among other nations.

"When countries want different things," Stanford University's Hank Greely tells her, "international bodies typically end up being ineffective, often with mandates sufficiently vague that everyone could agree to them but that no one will be particularly bound by them."

Brown also adds that some countries are better poised to deal with the regulatory issues gene-edited organisms bring up. For instance, Australia and Brazil have agencies dedicated to genetic engineering and the UK has an independent body that oversees human embryo research and IVF treatment.

"All countries need to think hard about a good regulatory agency to assess all kinds of modified life forms for their risks and balance those against their benefits before deciding whether to allow their introduction," Greely adds.

The Scan

Genetic Ancestry of South America's Indigenous Mapuche Traced

Researchers in Current Biology analyzed genome-wide data from more than five dozen Mapuche individuals to better understand their genetic history.

Study Finds Variants Linked to Diverticular Disease, Presents Polygenic Score

A new study in Cell Genomics reports on more than 150 genetic variants associated with risk of diverticular disease.

Mild, Severe Psoriasis Marked by Different Molecular Features, Spatial Transcriptomic Analysis Finds

A spatial transcriptomics paper in Science Immunology finds differences in cell and signaling pathway activity between mild and severe psoriasis.

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.