Chinese Scientist Claims First Gene Edited Babies

What we know — and don't — about claim of the first gene-edited babies

What we know — and don't — about claim of the first gene-edited babies

On Wednesday, He introduced his clinical study of gene editing during a presentation at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong, sharing data on his experiments on live mice and monkeys.

The Chinese scientist who claims to have created the world's first genetically-edited babies revealed another woman in his study is possibly pregnant.

Speaking at a genome summit in Hong Kong, He Jiankui, an associate professor at a Shenzhen university, said he was "proud" of his work.

Some scientists were astounded to hear of the claim and strongly condemned it. "This is a red line", one conference attendee told He. Over 120 Chinese scientists from leading research universities such as Peking University and Tsinghua University in China, Stanford in the United States, and Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology, and Research signed a joint statement condemning He's research."The project completely ignored the principles of biomedical ethics, conducting experiments on humans without proving it's safe", said Qiu Zilong, a neuroscience researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (中国科学) who penned the statement posted on social media platform, Weibo."We can only describe such behavior as insane". Musunuru is a University of Pennsylvania gene editing expert and editor of a genetics journal.

A China researcher claims world's first genetically edited babies, which were born in China earlier this month. "I think this is justifiable", Harvard geneticist George Church said, calling HIV "a major and growing public health threat". He said he would provide insurance for the children created through the project. "I understand my work will be controversial, but I believe families need this technology", he says in one of the videos.

Some scientists have suggested that if He's claims are true, by experimenting on healthy embryos without justification, the Professor has overstepped the mark.

He recruited HIV-positive heterosexual couples who wanted to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization, or IVF, to participate in the work through an AIDS advocacy group.

"The volunteers were informed of the risk posed by the existence of one potential off-target and they chose to implant", He said Wednesday, as he was bombarded with questions about the trial.

What we know — and don't — about claim of the first gene-edited babies

"The University was deeply shocked by this event and has taken immediate action to reach [He] for clarification", the release said, adding that He's "previous affiliation, the Department of Biology (hereafter the Department) called an emergency meeting of the Department Academic Committee". "Gene surgery is and should remain a technology for healing", He says in the video, in English with lab equipment arrayed behind him.

"We just saw it on the internet".

But Daley argued that a consensus was a emerging that "if we can solve the scientific challenges, it may be a moral imperative that it should be permitted".

Daley also defended the fact that scientists have long relied on self-regulation to prevent the abuse of new technologies. "That will help more people in need", he said.

In videos posted online this week, He said he used a gene-editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9 to alter the embryonic genes of twin girls born this month.

"There are many effective ways to prevent HIV in healthy individuals: For example, protected sex".

A new statement issued by the university condemns the genetic modification if it indeed has been done. He, the statement says, has been on unpaid leave from the university. "We know very little about the long-term effects, and most people would agree that experimentation on humans for an avoidable condition just to improve our knowledge is morally and ethically unacceptable".

CRISPR-Cas9 is a technology that allows scientists to essentially cut and paste DNA, raising hope of genetic fixes for disease, but there are concerns about safety and ethics. Such changes to a person's DNA can pass to future generations and risks harming other genes.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.