World Health Organization experts said last week it would be irresponsible for any scientist to make human gene studies in humans. They also called for a central registry of gene research studies to make sure scientists were open and honest about their work
The WHO Group was formed three months ago after a Chinese scientist announced that it had edited the genes of twins. They met for the first time last Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland
The group said they had agreed on how to set the rules for genes to study. He also asked the WHO to immediately start creating a registry for such studies.
"The Committee will develop … guidelines for all who work on this new technology," said WHO Chief Scientist Sumiah Swammanath
Last year, a Chinese scientist claimed to have edited the genes of two babies. They were born by the same mother in the same pregnancy.
The birth announcement led to condemnation from around the world. Many people believed that this may be the beginning of "designer babies," children whose genes have been edited to give them the desired traits or qualities. editing that would lead to genetically modified babies. They warned that the process could have a lasting and potentially harmful impact on human beings
The WHO Group said in a statement that any work on editing a human gene should only be done for research. It also says that attempts to edit genes should not be done on humans.
The WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, welcomes the group's plans. "Editing the gene is promising for health, but it also places some risks, both ethical and medical," he said.
The group said it aims to develop management rules for national, local, and international officials in the next two years to make sure science science editing progresses within bounded ethical boundaries
I am Susan Shand
Reuters reported this story. Susan Shan adapted it for VOA. George Rost was an editor.
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Words in this History
edit – v. for making changes, correcting errors
ethics – p. rules of conduct based on ideas of what is morally good and bad
posture – v. to enter; to create