Council of Europe’s Bioethics Committee issues conclusions on genome editing technologies

In the conclusions marking the end of its 18th plenary meeting (1–4 June 2021), the Committee on Bioethics of the Council of Europe tackled genome editing technologies and noted that the current provisions of article 13 of the Convention of Human Rights and Biomedicine (Oviedo Convention) are still applicable and ‘the conditions were not met for a modification of [its] provisions’. According to this article, ‘an intervention seeking to modify the human genome may only be undertaken for preventive, diagnostic or therapeutic purposes and only if its aim is not to introduce any modification in the genome of any descendants’. The Committee, however, highlighted that there is a need to provide some clarifications, in particular on the terms 'preventine, diagnostic and therapeutic’, and to avoid misinterpretation of the applicability of this provision to ‘research’.

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