Human embryo gene editing in China: the uncertain legal status of the embryo

Jiang, Li and Rosemann, Achim (2018) Human embryo gene editing in China: the uncertain legal status of the embryo. BioSocieties. ISSN 1745-8552 (Accepted)

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In this article we examine processes of ethical deliberation, legislative developments, and social and political factors that have contributed to the emergence of human embryo gene editing as a field of life science research in China. For this purpose, we examine conceptions of the legal status of the human embryo in three domains of China’s legal system: in patent law, in the jurisdictional domain of birth control, and in civil law. Each of these legal domains handles a different conception of the human embryo’s moral and legal status, and in all three the embryo’s status is contested and subject to changes. Our findings suggest that definitions of the legal status of the human embryo in China are at present in the midst of a renegotiation progress, which is driven by a variety of developments and causes. In this paper, we focus on three types of controversies that underlie this renegotiation process and we illustrate the conflicting aspirations, ethical arguments and moral priorities that inform these conflicts. We end this article with three lines of consideration that might structure future studies on this issue.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: CRISPR; human embryo gene editing; legal status of human embryo; research regulation; morality; China
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: H Social Sciences
K Law
R Medicine
Depositing User: Achim Rosemann
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 14:01
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 14:01

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Bionetworking in Asia - A social science approach to international collaboration, informal exchanges, and responsible innovation in the life sciencesG0812EUROPEAN UNION283219
Bionetworking in Asia - International collaboration, exchange, and responsible innovation in the life sciencesG0750ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILES/I018107/1
Germline Gene Editing in Global ContextUnsetWellcome Trust204799/Z/16/Z