Health

WHO appoints expert panel on gene editing after world's first baby claim

The World Health Organization announces members of its expert advisory committee on developing global standards for governance and oversight of human genome editing.

Move comes months after a Chinese scientist announced that he had created world's first gene-edited babies

He Jiankui, a Chinese researcher, speaks during the Human Genome Editing Conference in 2018. Months after his first public comments about his claim to have helped make the world's first gene-edited babies, the UN's health health agency announces an expert panel on gene editing. (Kin Cheung/Associated Press)

The World Health Organization is convening an expert meeting next month to develop global standards for the governance and oversight of human gene editing, months after a Chinese researcher rocked the scientific community with his announcement that he had created the world's first gene-edited babies.

In a statement Thursday, the U.N. health agency announced it had chosen an expert panel to examine the scientific, ethical, social and legal challenges linked to gene editing.

Last November, researcher He Jiankui claimed he altered the DNA of twin girls to make them resistant to HIV, in a move criticized by many scientists as irresponsible.

In January, Chinese investigators said He acted on his own and would be punished for any legal violations. Another embryo yet to be born reportedly resulted from He's experiment.

One of the 18 members of the expert panel is Canadian bioethicist Françoise Baylis.

With files from CBC News

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.