First Genome-Edited Babies? - Hit & Run

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Chinese medical officials are investigating the scientist who claims to have created the world's first genetically-edited babies.

Professor He Jiankui of Shenzhen, China, made the announcement yesterday in Hong Kong, informing the Associated Press of his apparent achievement and releasing an accompanying video.

The scientist is slated to speak at a session on human embryo editing at the International Summit on Human Genome Editing on Wednesday in Hong Kong.

Additionally, Southern University of Science and Technology, the university where Dr.

In a video released on YouTube, He said that only a single gene had been changed, but gene editing is known to introduce unintended genetic effects that could raise concerns - either for the children themselves or the human gene pool if the children grow up to pass on their genes. He refused to identify the parents or their location, and no scientific journal has independently verified his claims.

Qiu said a lack of regulation mean that scientists often face no punishments as they are only required to abide by the rules of their institutions, which may not stipulate punishments for misconduct.

Similar work is banned in most countries.

Similar genetic alterations are banned in the US, in part due to concerns about the ramifications on future generations that inherit an artificially hacked gene. Jiankui told the AP that his goal "was not to cure or prevent an inherited disease, but to try to bestow a trait that few people naturally have - an ability to resist possible future infection with HIV, the AIDS virus".

Sohnee Ahmed, president of the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors, said that if the Chinese scientist's claim is true, the birth of the word's first genetically altered babies has run way ahead of both scientific maturity and ethical considerations.

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According to the South China Morning Post, the letter was published on social media on late Monday and was signed by scientists at some of China's leading research universities, such as Peking University and Tsinghua, as well as overseas institutions, including Stanford in the U.S. and Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research. "The biology department's academic commission holds that he has severely violated our academic ethics and principles", the university said.

Physics and bioengineering professor Michael Deem at Rice University in Houston, has claimed that he also worked on the project with He in China. "Our policy has simply shut down discussion", McGill University health-policy expert Bartha Knoppers said at a conference a year ago of Canada's Stem Cell Network. But he remains an employee and still works in the laboratory. "The choice of the diseases that we heard discussions about earlier today are much more pressing" than trying to prevent HIV infection this way, Baltimore said.

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.

A Chinese scientist at the centre of a controversy over what he claims are the world's first genetically edited children has apologised for the result being leaked.

Due to the unknown consequences associated with gene editing, which is still in its infancy, Feng Zhang, one of the inventors of the gene-editing technique CRISPR and member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, has called for a prohibition on using CRISPR to edit the genes of babies.

It's only recently been tried in adults to treat deadly diseases, and the changes are confined to that person. Such experimentation is illegal in the US and some other nations. "We urgently need an global treaty to regulate gene editing of humans, so that we can decide if and when it is safe to use".

He told the AP that he had practiced on mice, monkeys, and human embryos for years before experimenting on humans.

Julian Savulescu, a medical ethics expert at Britain's University of Oxford, agreed. Meanwhile, those who supposedly were involved in approving an ethical review of the experiment that He Jiankui said he conducted are distancing themselves. Hai Do was the editor. "All these questions need to be looked into when we hear what he's actually done", Hynes says.

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