If you take genes from another kind of plant, or bacteria, and insert them into a crop like soybeans, the result is considered a GMO. You need government approval to sell a new GMO. If you just take a snippet out of a gene without inserting anything new, though, the product falls into a gray area

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If all goes as planned, the first clinical trial in the United States testing CRISPR against cancer by altering the DNA of tumor cells inside patients could begin recruiting participants next year, the scientist leading the effort told STAT

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Updated regulations allow scientists to use some genome-editing techniques in plants and animals without government approval

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But the practical challenges of breeding and maintaining unconventional lab animals persist

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“2019 is the year when the training wheels come off and the world gets to see what CRISPR can really do for the world in the most positive sense,” says Fyodor Urnov, a gene-editing scientist at the Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences in Seattle and the University of California, Berkeley

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“It’s easy to get on your high horse when you’re not in our position,” she said. “If editing an IVF embryo is the best option to mitigate the pain that a child would otherwise suffer, then give us the choice.”

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Watch now: The NAM & CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security hosted a conversation on whether human germline genome editing should be permitted, the types of applications which might be appropriate, the standards and criteria that should be followed, and what regulatory or governance framework is needed. Panel includes our Jeffrey Kahn

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A quest to understand how human intelligence evolved raises some ethical questions

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