World / Science & Health

WHO plans team to consider standards for 'uncharted water' gene editing


The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday that gene editing “may have unintended consequences” and that it was setting up a team of experts to study the ethical, social and safety dimensions and set guidelines.

“Gene editing may have unintended consequences, this is uncharted water and it has to be taken seriously,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, told a news briefing.

“WHO is putting together experts, we will work with member states to do everything we can to make sure that all issues — be it ethical, social, safety — before any manipulation is done.”

The Chinese government last Thursday ordered a temporary halt to research activities for people involved in the editing of human genes, after a Chinese scientist said he had edited the genes of twin babies.

Coronavirus banner