Chinese Scientist Claims First Gene Edited Babies

Chinese Scientist Claims First Gene Edited Babies

As soon as He finished his initial 15-minute presentation, American Nobel Prize-winning biologist David Baltimore, who chairs the conference, got up to speak. "The experiment is not medically justified", said Tebas, who noted that CCR5 mutants are not benign as people are more susceptible to serious consequences from West Nile infections. "I would actually add immoral to that". He felt especially proud of being able to restore lost faith in the parents of the twins, the father of whom is believed to carry HIV. "In fact there is not only very little chance these babies would be in need of a benefit, given their low risk, but there is no way to evaluate if this indeed conferred any benefit".

"Using these technologies prematurely can really adversely impact the entire scientific field".

"I feel a strong responsibility that it's not just to make a first but also make it an example", He explained to the Associated Press.

"If the enzyme, in addition to doing what you want it to do, just happens to also modify a cancer-related gene, then you can see an increased risk for a tumor".

An expert with the Chinese University of Hong Kong's Center for Bioethics told local media that He's justification for editing human embryo genes - to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS by "creating" humans immune to the infectious disease - was "deplorable".as HIV/AIDS could be prevented and treated via other means proven to be effective.

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".

More than 100 scientists, mostly in China, said in an open letter on Tuesday the use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to edit the genes of human embryos was unsafe and unjustified.

"Solving and assessing these deep issues [is] essential", Daley says.

The trio of public companies developing therapies using the technology known as Crispr, the method He Jiankui claimed to use in China, outperformed peers Monday as the broader biotech market rebounded.

A group of about 100 scientists said of the claim: "Pandora's box has been opened".


"I do think the principle of self-regulation is defensible", he says.

On Monday, more than 120 scholars from prestigious universities and institutes from China and overseas such as Tsinghua University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology strongly condemned the research in a signed statement, saying it lacks effective ethics oversight and amounts to human experiments.

A notice from Shenzhen's medical ethics authority said that all medical organisations must establish an ethics review committee before undertaking biomedical research concerning humans, and the ethics board of the hospital involved had not completed its registration as required. On Nov. 26, the University released a statement saying that He had been on unpaid leave since February, and that they were "deeply shocked" by the news of the research.

The National Health Commission said on Monday it was "highly concerned" and had ordered provincial health officials "to immediately investigate and clarify the matter".

"We don't know if this work is real or fake".

"It is essential that this report not cast an untoward shadow on the many important ongoing and planned clinical efforts to use CRISPR technology to treat and cure existing genetic, infectious and common disease in adults and in children", she said.

But making changes in human DNA that could be passed down for generations has always been considered off-limits.

Chinese researcher He Jiankui said "families need" technology that allows them to edit the genes of their unborn children.

"If true, this experiment is monstrous", said Julian Savulescu, a medical ethics specialist at Britain's University of Oxford. "When we start picking and choosing which genes we want to continue having, we are taking part in an experiment that is not ours".

Earlier this month, a public poll by Sun Yat-sen University revealed that while a majority of respondents in China supported gene editing and its legalization for treating diseases, they objected to gene editing for human enhancement.

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