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A draft bill proposed by a US House of Representatives spending panel has dropped the language that bars the editing of a human embryo, ScienceInsider reports.

It notes that the provision was first included in a 2016 US spending bill. In particular, language included in that bill prevents the Food and Drug Administration from using its funds to review or approve gene-editing research that involves human embryos. In combination with a different proviso preventing the National Institutes of Health from funding human germline editing, ScienceInsider says this has led to a "de facto US ban on germline editing to create a baby."

A Democratic aide tells ScienceInsider that this provision was dropped because it was added to the 2016 bill without being subject to public debate. "We believe this provision could limit important scientific research and, if Congress chooses to prohibit such research, that should be done in the light of day," the unnamed aide adds.

However, as ScienceInsider notes, the provision could be restored as the bill continues to make its way through the legislature.