Germline editing is banned in New Zealand under guidelines set by the Health Research Council of New Zealand. As part of the Research Ethics Guidelines, the agency concluded in 2018, “there is insufficient knowledge about the possible consequences, hazards and effects on future generations” of germline gene editing. Implanting genetically modified embryos is also banned by the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act 2004. Although ‘genetically modified’ is not defined in the act, the Royal Society of New Zealand’s gene editing panel considers gene editing genetic modification. There is ongoing discussion among scientists about whether germline gene editing should be allowed.
2019: An international group of researchers, including some from New Zealand, call for a global moratorium on clinical uses of germline editing after a Chinese scientist genetically edited embryos during fertility treatments and at least two of those embryos were carried to term.
2017: Royal Society of New Zealand’s gene editing panel releases Gene Editing in a Healthcare Context, which considers the social, cultural, legal and economic implications of gene-editing technologies for New Zealand and summarizes current regulations for human gene editing.
2004: Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ACART) established as part of the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act 2004 and is responsible for establishing guidelines for fertility procedures and research. The HART Act prohibits the implantation of genetically modified embryos.
1996: Environmental Protection Authority releases the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996, establishing regulations for the creation and release of non-native (including genetically modified) organisms into New Zealand. The Royal Commission on Genetic Modification decides that research involving genetic modification of human cells is also covered by this Act.
- Genetic Literacy Project’s FAQ on gene editing
- Library of Congress summary of New Zealand’s gene regulations includes detailed analysis of the country’s evolving biosafety laws and liabilities
- Royal Society of New Zealand: Gene Editing: Legal and Regulatory Implications