Scientists across the world reacted with horror today after a Chinese researcher claimed to have created the world's first genetically edited babies, a feat that would crash through the most controversial ethical boundary in biology.
The research was first detailed by MIT's Technology Review.
The Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing begins in Hong Kong on Tuesday, Nov. 27, and He is expected to make an appearance at the event.
The team is led by He Jiankui of Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen.
A Chinese researcher has shocked the scientific community when he claimed to have created the first genetically edited babies-twin girls born as part of an experiment to create HIV resistance by altering DNA in embryos during in-vitro fertilization. "Deem's involvement in this research". It raised deep questions for scientists about whether traditional oversight channels were followed, as well as what to believe about the experiment and the results.
In an e-mail, Annas voiced skepticism of He's claim but said there are a number of ethical concerns if the researcher is, in fact, telling the truth.
He acknowledges the work is controversial and says that designer babies should be banned. He's experiment altered the genomes of embryos produced through IVF; their genetic changes will therefore be passed on to any future generations.
In this October 9, 2018 photo, Zhou Xiaoqin, left, loads Cas9 protein and PCSK9 sgRNA molecules into a fine glass pipette as Qin Jinzhou watches at a laboratory in Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong province. He has said the parents involved declined to be identified or interviewed, and he would not say where they live or where the work was done. He said he had performed the gene editing to help protect the babies from future infection of HIV, the virus responsible for the disease AIDS. The babies' names are Lulu and Nana, He said in one video. "Society will decide what to do next" in terms of allowing or forbidding such science.
The Southern University of Science and Technology has distanced itself from the uproar, saying it had no knowledge of He's work, which was undertaken at a private hospital.More news: General Motors shuttering plants, cutting 15% of workforce
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The university further notes that He has been on unpaid leave since February 2018-a situation that He tells Reuters he chose himself in order to focus on his research-and calls the work a "serious violation of academic ethics and standards", Reuters reports. But he remains an employee and still works in the laboratory.
China's National Health Commission said it was "highly concerned" and had ordered provincial health officials "to immediately investigate and clarify the matter".
In this October 9, 2018 photo, a microplate containing embryos that have been injected with Cas9 protein and PCSK9 sgRNA is seen in a laboratory in Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong province.
JK said he was able to gain practice by editing mice, monkey, and human embryos in labs for several years. He used a powerful new gene editing tool called CRISPR-cas9, which has the ability to rewrite DNA, according to the report.
So far the tool has only been used on adults to treat deadly diseases, and the changes only affected that person. Also, some so-called mitochondrial disorders can be addressed by using some genetic material from mom and some from a donor egg, along with dad's sperm. In the USA, scientists can perform laboratory embryo research only with private funding, not with federal taxpayer money.
"This experiment exposes healthy normal children to risks of gene editing for no real necessary benefit".
Kiran Musunuru is a University of Pennsylvania gene editing expert and editor of a genetics journal.
\While editing the DNA of a human embryo is not now allowed in the USA, in 2017, an global committee of the National Academy of Sciences called for loosening the moratorium and allowing trials of CRISPR in human embryos, under strict oversight, to treat rare genetic diseases that can't be addressed in any other way.
Meanwhile, He is now facing investigation by a local medical ethics board to see whether his experiment broke Chinese laws or regulations. Hai Do was the editor.