World Health Organization panel weighs in on CRISPR-babies debate

Source: Nature

The World Health Organization (WHO) should create a global registry of studies that involve editing the human genome, and research funders and publishers should require scientists to participate in it, a group advising the WHO said on 19 March.

The panel, which the WHO created in February after a scientist in China edited the genomes of twin girls, also condemned the clinical application of research that alters the genome of human eggs, sperm or embryos — the so-called germline — in ways that can be passed to future generations.

“The committee agrees it is irresponsible at this time for anyone to proceed at this time with clinical applications of human germline genome editing,” said Margaret Hamburg, the panel’s co-chair and the foreign secretary of the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS).