World Health Organization wants panel to study gene editing

World Health Organization wants panel to study gene editing
FILE -- Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, August 14, 2018. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/keystone via AP)

Published Monday, December 3, 2018 2:41PM EST

GENEVA -- The chief of the World Health Organization says his agency is assembling experts to consider the health impacts of gene editing.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday that gene editing "cannot be just done without clear guidelines" and experts should "start from a clean sheet and check everything."

Tedros comments followed Chinese scientist He Jiankui s announcement last week that he had helped alter the DNA of newborn twins in hopes of making them resistant to the AIDS virus.

China ordered a halt to experiments by He s team.

Tedros told reporters WHO s experts "should start from asking, Should we even consider this?" and noted: "We have a big part of our population who say, Don t touch."
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