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FG validates biosafety guidelines for gene editing

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The Federal Government has formally validated its national biosafety guidelines on gene editing, aimed at ensuring that its products do not have adverse impact on human health.

The Director General of National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Rufus Ebegba, who revealed this in Abuja, also said they had evolved procedures that are meant to drive the economy and the livelihood of the people.

Ebegba, who said that Nigeria had resolved to make science and technology major drivers of the economy, stressed the need for the agency to ensure that gene editing and its products are safe for the citizens.

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“We seriously believe that gene editing needs adequate regulation so that products developed will not be harmful to the environment, human health, plants, and animals.

“Based on this, there is an urgent need to amend the NBMA Act 2015 to include emerging aspects of modern biotechnology in the area of synthetic biology, gene drive and gene editing,” Ebegba said.

The director general hinted that the NBMA was working with other sister agencies on the development of the guiding principles and they had gone through various internal and external reviews and processes.

“We have subjected them to national and international reviews and scientists from research institutes reviewed them in a bid to make sure we come up with a robust document that will ensure proper regulation.”

The Programme Officer for the Africa Development Agency, Modupe Adeyemo, said that with the biosafety legal framework in place, the focus would henceforth be to put in place additional regulatory tools.

According to her, the stakeholders are committed to forging strategic partnerships that will have transformative impact on the continent as well as validate the gene editing guidelines that will contribute to a functional biosafety regulatory system in Nigeria.

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NBMARufus Ebegba
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