The Point: California Says No to Do-It-Yourself Gene Hacking


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The California Assembly has a terrible recent track record, targeting Christian colleges, pushing radical ideologies, trying to shut down pro-life pregnancy centers… it’s a long list.

But I must give credit where credit is due: The Assembly passed, and Governor Newsom signed, a bill that prohibits the sale of do-it-yourself genetic engineering kits—unless the kit has a label warning that it is “not for self-administration.”

Hey, it’s a start. As noted at Vox, Silicon Valley is home to the biohacking movement, which, in essence, attempts to extend life through technology. But tinkering with the human genome poses enormous risks not only to those who self-edit their genes, but to the public at large.

One Oakland biohacker has been selling such kits, so it’s entirely appropriate that California has now passed the “first-ever legislation addressing emerging CRISPR technology, [which] will help prevent safety mishaps by amateur users of CRISPR kits.”

Like I said, at least it’s a start. I’m glad California is taking the issue seriously.


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