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Just Not on Yourself

A new law in California will make it illegal to sell gene-editing kits unless they have a disclaimer saying not to use them on yourself, MIT's Technology Review reports.

The sponsor of the bill, Republican State Senator Ling Ling Chang, tells Tech Review through a spokesperson that she wanted to be "proactive." On Facebook, Chang writes that "[t]his first ever legislation addressing emerging CRISPR technology will help prevent safety mishaps by amateur users of CRISPR kits."

Tech Review writes that the law appears to be aimed at biohacker Josiah Zayner. In a 2017 stunt, Zayner injected himself on stage with what he said was the CRISPR/Cas9 editing system targeted to the myostatin gene, though he later expressed remorse about doing so. His company, The Odin, sells bacterial genetic engineering kits, Tech Review note.

"It's obviously targeting me," Zayner tells it. He later adds, "The law is silly. Is it saying you can sell a CRISPR gene therapy, and all you have to do is write on it, 'Not for human use?'"

The bill, which was signed into law at the end of July, is to go into effect at the beginning of January, according to Tech Review.