Scientist who claimed to create gene-edited CRISPR babies under investigation

Pearl Mccarthy
November 28, 2018

In the US, a gene-editing expert at the University of Pennsylvania told The Associated Press that it was "an experiment on human beings that is not morally or ethically defensible", while a Harvard University geneticist said the research is "justifiable". He told The Associated Press, adding that "society will decide what to do next". The criteria required the father to be HIV positive and the mother to be HIV negative. Deem was He's adviser when he studied at there.

Gene-editing is banned in the United States because the DNA changes could be passed onto future humans and it risks harming other genes as well as people's immune systems, the Associated Press reported on Monday.

He warned that editing genomes for prevention or enhancement would change the gene pool of the human species.

However, no independent research paper has been published, and there is no official confirmation yet. But, according to the Associated Press, other researchers denounced the research as human experimentation. News of the procedure, which lead scientist on the project, He Jiankui, announced in several videos posted yesterday (November 25) on YouTube, has led to outrage among researchers who see this use of CRISPR as a violation of worldwide ethical standards, but also doubt the claim's veracity. "It's just nearly surreal", said Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, who said he has seen some of the data behind the experiment.

Dr. Eric Topol, who heads the Scripps Research Translational Institute in California, said, "We're dealing with the operating instructions of a human being. It's a big deal".

Chinese bioethicist Qiu Renzong was quoted in a tweet by The CRISPR Journal as saying: "There is a convenient and practical method to prevent HIV infection".

"I am. deeply concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding this trial", Zhang says in a statement published by MIT Technology Review.

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The climate assessment warned of longer and more powerful disasters resulting, at least in part, from rising temperatures. Extreme heat will cause more deaths. "But if we're clean but every other place on Earth is dirty, that's not so good".

Despite ethical concerns in the West, a recent study suggested that the Chinese public is broadly in favor of using gene-editing for medical purposes. Back in 2016, scientists in China used CRISPR to introduce a beneficial mutation that disables an immune-cell gene called CCR5, conferring immunity by knocking out a critical receptor, or mode of entry, for the HIV virus to infect a cell.

First, He washed the sperm which separated it from the semen, where the HIV virus can be found.

Before He's talk, Dr George Daley, Harvard Medical School's dean and one of the conference organisers, warned against a backlash to gene editing because of He's experiment. He is scheduled to talk about human embryo editing on Wednesday and its "moral principles" on Thursday. The couples involved could choose to try implanting either edited or unedited embryos. After the babies were born, the scientists tested their DNA to confirm the intended gene-editing occurred.

But other factors such as a larger population providing a larger pool of potential patients, as well as regulatory support from the government also played a role, Donovan said. Because there's (supposedly) been an worldwide agreement not to do such experiments on human embryos. The seven couples in the human trial were recruited through a Beijing-based AIDS advocacy group. They received free fertility treatments as part of the agreement to participate.

"The Pandora's Box has been opened, but we may still have a chance to close it before it is irreparable", the statement read.

China is seeking to become a leader in the fields of genetic research and cloning, forging ahead even as others hesitate over ethical issues.

Richard Hynes, a cancer researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge who co-chaired the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report that Doudna referred to, says it laid out "stringent conditions" that should be met before undertaking genome editing: There had to be a serious, unmet medical need; the effort should be well-monitored and with sufficient follow-up; and there had to be informed consent of the parents. If it causes unwanted side effects or harm, "I would feel the same pain as they do and it's going to be my own responsibility".

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