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Parliamentary questions
14 February 2018
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Frédérique Ries (ALDE)

 Subject:  Human gene editing perspective

Human gene editing is rapidly becoming a practical reality, and its use within a strict ethical framework could eliminate severe hereditary diseases such as Huntington’s disease, sickle cell anaemia or cystic fibrosis.

In August 2017 an international team of researchers published a paper in ‘Nature’ on how they used the CRISPR‐Cas9 tool to correct a mutation in human embryos causing a hereditary heart disease(1).

In February 2017 the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommended permitting scientists to modify human embryos destined for implantation in the womb(2). Strict regulatory oversight would prevent the use of such technologies from being extended to additional human enhancements, beyond eliminating serious genetic diseases.

In the context of research funding beyond Horizon 2020 and maintaining the EU as a world leader in health technologies:

Would the Commission consider revising existing rules inhibiting research on gene editing, such as the current ban on funding of research intended to modify the heritable genes of humans(3)?

(1) http://www.nature.com/news/crispr-fixes-disease-gene-in-viable-human-embryos-1.22382
(2) http://nationalacademies.org/gene-editing/consensus-study/index.htm
(3) Article 19 of Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013, OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 114.

Last updated: 20 February 2018Legal notice