Japan is to allow gene editing of human embryos for research purposes, if new draft guidelines become policy, Nature News reports.
Nature News notes that while Japan regulates the use of human embryos in research, there had been no gene-editing-specific guidelines. This meant, Hokkaido University's Tetsuya Ishii, tells it, that Japan was previously neutral on the use of such tools.
According to the Japan News, the Council for Science, Technology, and Innovation issued a report in March that asked the government to establish research guidelines. It adds that, in September, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology Ministry and the Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry presented these guidelines to an expert panel. It says the guidelines would allow genome-editing research that would improve assisted reproduction techniques, and that it would only be permitted to be performed on remaining embryos from fertility treatments.
Ishii adds at Nature News that the new guidelines would encourage embryonic gene editing research. Still, Nature News notes that the new guidelines would discourage editing human embryos for reproductive purposes.
It says that the draft guidelines will be open for public comment, and the Japan News adds that they are expected to be adopted by April.