WHO sticks to 2020 governance plan for human-genome editing

Volume 575 Issue 7782, 14 November 2019


12 November 2019
WHO sticks to 2020 governance plan for human-genome editing
Margaret Hamburg & Edwin Cameron
The turmoil around plans from Russia for gene editing of human embryos (see Nature 574, 465–466; 2019) underscores the importance and urgency of the global governance framework now being developed by the World Health Organization’s expert advisory committee on human genome editing (go.nature.com/33j6q1s). Before the end of 2020, we aim to identify the key issues and to make solutions scalable, sustainable and appropriate for use at international, regional, national and local levels.

Our efforts are grounded in transparency, inclusivity, fairness, responsible scientific stewardship and social justice. To meet these criteria, we aim to share information on the committee’s own processes and outcomes, on what is happening and on how and why it is necessary; we will draw on contributions from all parts of global society to provide diverse viewpoints; we will adhere to good practice in scientific and clinical conduct, maximizing benefits and minimizing harm; and our dealings will allow everyone equal access to opportunities and potential benefits.

We reject all forms of discrimination based on personal or group characteristics, including gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, age and disability. We are exploring how we can expand the views and perspectives that feed into our work, aiming for effective public and community engagement in developing governance mechanisms for human-genome editing.