The World Health Organization is recommending the creation of a global database to track “any form of genetic manipulation,” with the goal of preventing unscrupulous or dangerous experimentation.
The recommendations come from a group of experts formed in 2018 after Chinese scientist He Jiankui announced he had created genetically edited babies that were immune from HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. He was found guilty in December 2019 of conducting “illegal medical practices” and sentenced by a Chinese court to three years in prison.
WHO said all genome editing should be made public and recommends a whistleblowing system in which scientists could report unreported genome editing.
WHO strongly opposed making modifications to the human genetic code in humans that could be passed from generation to generation.
"No one in their right mind should contemplate doing it, because the techniques are simply not safe enough or efficient enough, and we're not ready in terms of looking at all the ethical considerations," said Robin Lovell-Badge, senior group leader at Britain's Francis Crick Institute, a committee member.
Some information in this report comes from The Associated Press and Reuters.