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We need a ‘global registry’ of all human gene-editing research, World Health Organization panel says

| | March 22, 2019
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Image credit: Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

An influential committee of the World Health Organization said on [March 19] that it would be “irresponsible” to try to create babies from gene-edited human embryos. The panel called for an international registry to track all research into editing the human genome.

The committee was created in the wake of the birth of the first gene-edited babies — the result of an experiment by a Chinese scientist, He Jiankui, who genetically altered human embryos and implanted them in a woman who gave birth to twins last fall.

His actions stirred alarm among other researchers, ethicists and policymakers, because so little is known about the safety and health effects of editing the genome of a human embryo. Many fear that the technology could be misused to create “designer babies” … .

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Scientific and medical institutions in the United States and around the world have pledged to establish clear guidelines and a system to monitor such research.

Scientific journals, and funders of this research, will be asked to require that anything they publish or finance be listed in the registry, she said. The committee asked the W.H.O. to immediately start creating the registry.

Read full, original post: W.H.O. Panel Demands a Registry for Human Gene Editing

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