California clamps down on amateur use of gene-editing technologies

California state officials have passed the first law to prohibit genetic biohacking in an effort to regulate the controversial practice. The new law warns biohackers not to edit their own genes and makes it illegal to sell do-it-yourself genetic engineering kits unless they clearly state that they are not to be used for self-administration.

California wants to make it clear that tampering with your own genes is not something that people you should be trying to do “at home.”

The advent of the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR has led to a biohacking movement that has got people interested in tinkering with their own genes for the purpose of self-enhancement.

The issue has prompted legislators in California to regulate the practice and last month Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill authored by Republican state Senator Ling Chang that is the first to address the amateur use of gene-editing technology.

The requirement that the kits carry a clear warning stating that they must not be used for self-administration will become law from January next year.

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