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The World Health Organization (WHO) is creating a global panel to study human gene editing and the scientific, legal, social, and ethical challenges that surround it so the organization may move toward standards for oversight and governance.

The multidisciplinary panel will examine the literature and social attitudes about the practice and work with international agencies including the United Nations and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to understand how to promote transparency, build trust, and ensure that thorough risk/benefit assessment has been done before any case is authorized, according to a WHO press release.

WHO's announcement last week came in the wake of uses of CRISPR-Casp9 that most recently included Chinese academic He Jiankui's claims on YouTube that he edited the genes of twins born last month to help make them resistant to HIV.

The Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, the university from which He has been on leave without pay since February, said it was not aware of the research and is launching an investigation.

The work is a "serious violation of academic... see more