JKUAT Lecturer Nominated to WHO Exclusive Committee

  • Members during a previous WHO Conference File
  • Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology (JKUAT) genetics lecturer, Prof. Anne Wangari Thairu-Muigai, was nominated as part of an exclusive 18-team WHO committee over the weekend.

    The international body tasked with handling global health issues made the announcement on its official website.

    Prof. Muigai and her colleagues will be serving in the capacity of an advisory panel on developing global standards for governance and oversight of human genome editing.

    “The World Health Organization is pleased to announce the membership of the WHO Expert Advisory Committee on Developing Global Standards for Governance and Oversight of Human Genome editing," read their statement.

    Prof. Anne Thairu Muigai

    The Committee is set to have its first meeting on March 18-19, 2019 during which they are expected to deliberate on a suitable work-plan for the 12-18 months they are scheduled to convene.

    The Kenyan professor and her fellow scientists will be expected to examine the scientific, ethical, social and legal challenges associated with Human Genome editing.

    By the end of their tenure, the scientists will be expected to advise and provide counsel on suitable governance mechanisms for the revolutionary field in which DNA is inserted, deleted, modified or replaced in the genome of living organisms.

    Unlike early genetic engineering techniques that randomly insert genetic material into a host, genome editing targets the insertions to site-specific locations. Thus enabling one to change the DNA in cells or organisms to understand their biology and how they work.

    Prof. Muigai is a molecular population geneticist with over 17 years’ experience in the field of Genetics and Biotechnology.

    The WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland

    She is a Director in the Board of the Kenya Plant Health and Inspection Services (KEPHIS) and a Commissioner with the Commission for University Education (CUE), which are State Corporations.