Global health ethics

Human Genome editing

Human genome
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WHO establishing expert panel to develop global standards for governance and oversight of human genome editing

14 December 2018 -- WHO is establishing a global multi-disciplinary expert panel to examine the scientific, ethical, social and legal challenges associated with human genome editing (both somatic and germ cell). The panel will review the current literature on the state of the research and its applications, and societal attitudes towards the different uses of this technology. WHO will then receive advice from the panel on appropriate oversight and governance mechanisms, both at the national and global level. Core to this work will be understanding how to promote transparency and trustworthy practices and how to ensure appropriate risk/benefit assessments are performed prior to any decision on authorization.

The recent application of tools such as CRISPR-Cas9 to edit the human genome have highlighted the need for the development of standards in this area. WHO’s expert working group will work in a consultative manner and build on existing initiatives. As WHO proceeds, we are liaising with relevant UN and other international agencies, and are in communication with Academies of Science and Medicine as well as with bodies that have produced previous reports.

News on Human Genome Editing (HGE) Registry

WHO advisory committee

Read about the Advisory Committee on Developing Global Standards for Governance and Oversight of Human Genome Editing, the biographies of the Chairs and the Committee members.

Resource center

We have created a page to provides access to a wide range of information resources and relevant links to human genome editing. It includes WHO’s current work of human genome editing as well as other non-WHO publications and links.