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To Ensure Transparency, WHO Panel Aims for Registry of All Human Gene-Editing Research

The WHO panel's statement said any human gene-editing work should be done for research only, should not be done in human clinical trials, and should be conducted transparently.

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According to 996.icu, the 72-hour work week schedule has long been practiced in “secret,” but recently more companies have been openly discussing the arrangement. VOA

It would be irresponsible for any scientist to conduct human gene-editing studies in people, and a central registry of research plans should be set up to ensure transparency, World Health Organization experts said Tuesday.

After its first two-day meeting in Geneva, the WHO panel of gene-editing experts — which was established in December after a Chinese scientist said he had edited the genes of twin babies — said it had agreed on a framework for setting future standards.

It said a central registry of all human genome-editing research was needed “in order to create an open and transparent database of ongoing work,” and asked the WHO to start setting up such a registry immediately.

“The committee will develop essential tools and guidance for all those working on this new technology to ensure maximum benefit and minimal risk to human health,” Soumya Swamanathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, said in a statement.

FILE - He Jiankui, left, and Zhou Xiaoqin work a computer at a laboratory in Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong province, Oct. 10, 2018. Chinese scientist He says he helped make the world's first genetically edited babies.
– He Jiankui, left, and Zhou Xiaoqin work a computer at a laboratory in Shenzhen in southern China’s Guangdong province, Oct. 10, 2018. Chinese scientist He says he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies. VOA

A Chinese scientist last year claimed to have edited the genes of twin baby girls.

News of the births prompted global condemnation, in part because it raised the ethical specter of so-called “designer babies” — in which embryos can be genetically modified to produce children with desirable traits.

Top scientists and ethicists from seven countries called last week for a global moratorium on gene editing of human eggs, sperm or embryos that would result in such genetically-altered babies — saying this “could have permanent and possibly harmful effects on the species.”

The WHO panel’s statement said any human gene-editing work should be done for research only, should not be done in human clinical trials, and should be conducted transparently.

genes
After its first two-day meeting in Geneva, the WHO panel of gene-editing experts — which was established in December after a Chinese scientist said he had edited the genes of twin babies — said it had agreed on a framework for setting future standards. Pixabay

“It is irresponsible at this time for anyone to proceed with clinical applications of human germline genome editing.”

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The WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, welcomed the panel’s initial plans. “Gene editing holds incredible promise for health, but it also poses some risks, both ethically and medically,” he said in a statement.

The committee said it aims over the next two years to produce “a comprehensive governance framework” for national, local and international authorities to ensure human genome-editing science progresses within agreed ethical boundaries. (VOA)

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Third-Hand Smoke can Harm Respiratory System by Changing Gene Expressions: Study

A total of 382 genes among approximately 10,000 genes in the data set were significantly over-expressed and seven other genes were under-expressed, according to the study

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third-hand smoke
The nasal membrane tissue is similar to those in the bronchus, so the researchers suggested that the damage could go deeper into the respiratory system. Flickr

The hazards of second-hand smoke are well-known. Now, scientists have found even third-hand smoke (THS) could do harm to one’s respiratory health by changing gene expressions.

The study published in the latest edition of JAMA Network Open this week showed that the third-hand smoke can damage epithelial cells in the respiratory system, coercing those cells into a fight for survival, Xinhua news agency reported. THS results when the exhaled smoke and smoke emanating from the burning cigarettes settle on surfaces like clothing, hair and furniture.

The researchers from University of California, Riverside (UCR) obtained nasal scrapes from four healthy non-smoking women aged 27 to 49 years, who were randomized to receive the clean air exposure first and then THS exposure for three hours. The researchers extracted Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) from them to examine their gene expression changes.

third-hand smoke
Also, the researchers have found that the inhalation altered pathways associated with oxidative stress that may cause cancer in the long term. Flickr

A total of 382 genes among approximately 10,000 genes in the data set were significantly over-expressed and seven other genes were under-expressed, according to the study. “The THS inhalation for only three hours significantly altered gene expression in the nasal epithelium of healthy non-smokers,” said the paper’s first author Giovanna Pozuelos, a graduate student at UCR.

ALSO READ: Researchers Discover Extremely Harmful Levels of Toxins Found in Enamelled Decoration of Beer and Wine Bottles

Also, the researchers have found that the inhalation altered pathways associated with oxidative stress that may cause cancer in the long term. The nasal membrane tissue is similar to those in the bronchus, so the researchers suggested that the damage could go deeper into the respiratory system.

“Many smoking adults think, ‘I smoke outside, so my family inside the house will not get exposed.’ But smokers carry chemicals like nicotine indoors with their clothes,” said Prue Talbot, a professor at UCR, who led the research. “It’s important to understand people that the THS is real and potentially harmful,” said Talbot. (IANS)