The Commission for University Education Board member, Prof. Anne Muigai, is among global geneticists who came up with the recent ground-breaking recommendations on human genome editing.
As the first Kenyan female professor of genetics, Prof. Muigai has won the hearts of research scientists and global institutions for her immense contribution on the subject.
On 14th December 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) established a global multi- disciplinary expert panel to examine the scientific, ethical, social and legal challenges associated with human genome editing (both somatic and germ cell) following the successful delivery of twin girls as a result of gene-editing by Chinese scientist He Jiankui. The girls turned three years in November 2021.
Prof. Muigai was among the 18-member Expert Advisory Committee on Developing Global Standards for Governance and Oversight of Human Genome Editing. She was the only Kenyan representative in the committee.
The committee was tasked to advise and make recommendations on appropriate institutional, national, regional and global governance mechanisms for human genome editing.
During the course of its work, the committee reviewed the current literature on human genome editing research and its applications, considered existing proposals for governance and relevant ongoing initiatives, and gathered information on a range of topics relating to the different uses of this technology.
“It was a great honor for me to serve on this committee, which resulted in a governance framework, a position paper and our recommendations," noted Prof. Muigai in a scholarly journal titled Expanding global access to genetic therapies https://www.nature.com/articles/s41587- 021-01191-0 that was published on 7th January, 2022.
The Commission Secretary/CEO Prof. Mwenda Ntarangwi commended Prof Muigai for her exemplary achievement and noted that this was not only a milestone to the Commission but also to the university sub-sector which plays a key role in research and innovations.
“We are proud of our Board member for leading by example and appreciate her role in the Committee that made fruitful deliberations on the task given,” said Prof. Ntarangwi.
“Her achievement is a milestone to us as university regulator given the fact that universities are required by law to promote research and scholarly publishing and as such, CUE was established to ensure that institutions of higher learning meet the highest standards in the areas by identifying research gaps and to set aside adequate financial resources to meet their research obligations”, said Prof. Ntarangwi.
Prof. Muigai sits in the Commission Board as a representative of public universities and currently works at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).