Amateur “garage scientists” toying with powerful gene editing technology could pose a future danger that should not be ignored, experts have warned.

Kits that make it possible to “cut and paste” DNA in living organisms such as yeast and bacteria can already be bought on the internet for around £100.

Using the new technology, known as CRSPR-Cas9, does not require a high level of scientific knowledge, raising concerns that malicious “biohackers” or careless enthusiasts might create something potentially harmful.

The issue was raised in the first part of a major investigation of gene editing by theNuffield Council on Bioethics, an independent body that explores ethical questions raised by advances in biology and medicine.

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