WHO issues new recommendations on human genome editing

News in Discussion Human Genome Editing

The World Health Organization has issued new recommendations on human genome editing It is  called for a global registry to track any form of genetic manipulation and proposing a whistle-blowing mechanism to raise concerns about unethical or unsafe research. The UN health agency commissioned an expert group in late 2018 following a dramatic announcement from Chinese scientist He Jiankui that he had created the world’s first gene-edited babies.

Issue of Gene editing in discussion

  • The Chinese scientist announced he had altered the DNA of twin babies to prevent them from catching HIV. He said the university where he worked was not aware of this work and that he funded it himself. He was later sentenced to three years in jail for conducting illegal medical practices.


Meaning of Genome editing

  • Genome editing also called gene editing is a group of technologies that give scientists the ability to change an organism's DNA. These technologies allow genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome.
  • Genome engineering represents the next step of evolution in our ability to analyses and edit the genetic information of plants, animals, humans, and microbes.


Genesis of Programme in India

  • Genome editing technologies have the potential to transform biological research and can greatly impact human health, food security and environmental sustainability.

Objectives of the Programme

  • Drive research to develop new tools and methods for genome editing for basic and applied research.
  • Establish accessible platforms facilities on emerging genome editing technologies for research and development.
  • Improvement of existing genome editing technology platforms.
  • Development of new applications of existing genome editing technologies.
  • Application of Genome Editing Technologies to address specific unmet needs in the areas of Human Health, Agriculture & Plant Productivity, Environment and Bio resources, and Animal Health.
  • Human Resource Development in state-of-the-art Genome Editing Technologies.


Legal Dimension

  • In India, genetically modified organisms and products thereof are regulated under the "Rules for the manufacture, use, import, export and storage of hazardous microorganisms, genetically engineered organisms or cells, 1989" (referred to as Rules, 1989) notified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.



Source: AIR & DBT GOV

Topic GS-3: Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology, Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology, Awareness in the Bio-technology and issues.