The World Health Organisation has approved the first phase of a new global registry to record the research conducted on human genome editing.

The approval was granted by a WHO expert advisory committee consisting of 18 members. The committee also introduced an online discussion on the genome editing governance.

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “Since our last meeting, some scientists have announced their wish to edit the genome of embryos and bring them to term. This illustrates how important our work is, and how urgent.”

“New genome editing technologies hold great promise and hope for those who suffer from diseases we once thought untreatable. But some uses of these technologies also pose unique and unprecedented challenges – ethical, social, regulatory and technical.”

Dr Tedros also urged the countries around the world to not permit any work on genome editing in humans clinical applications until the ethical and technical effects would be considered.

The initial phase of the registry will use the WHO entity, International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP).

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It will include both germline and somatic clinical trials.

To ensure transparency in the process, different stakeholders will be informed about working of the platform.

The committee also plans to take suggestions through in-person engagement and online consultation in order to improve the global governance framework development for human genome editing.

ICTRP aims to ensure that the whole view of the research is available to everyone who is involved in the healthcare field.

It will also help in improving transparency in research and the validity of scientific evidence.