Chinese Scientist Faces Firestorm Over Genetic Editing

Chinese Scientist Faces Firestorm Over Genetic Editing

He Jiankui said he engineered a project that led to the birth of twin girls whose DNA he altered.

He, who is due to speak at a summit on human genome editing at the University of Hong Kong on Wednesday, did not respond to a request for comment.

He also indicated the work had been submitted for publication in a peer reviewed journal. Nor did he say when the results might be published.

He Jiankui's laboratory at the Southern University of Science and Technology has been closed, pending the result of the school's investigation, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, November 28, 2018.

The modification was meant to mirror a natural mutation found in a small percentage of people which makes them resistant to the virus.

He concluded his talk by mentioning plans to monitor the twins' health for the next 18 years.

The researcher's 40-minute Q&A offered a charged forum for scientists to publicly question a colleague caught in controversy.

The Chair of the Summit, Nobel Laureate David Baltimore, spoke from the floor after the panel session.

"I think there has been a failure of self-regulation by the scientific community because of the lack of transparency", Baltimore said.

Today's medications have turned HIV from a death sentence into a manageable disease in much of the world, but He said he chose that gene because HIV remains a big problem in China. "What was the unmet medical need for these patients in particular?"

Researchers routinely use gene-editing tools in labs to study diseases in cells or animals, and they're altering crops and food animals for better agriculture. But she notes, "one of the dangers of this kind of-I feel premature-study is that it muddies the waters and tarnishes the technology in this area at a time when we should be celebrating it and working together carefully to ensure that it's used safely".

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The Chiefs won that game 37-21, however, the Browns looked better in that game than expected despite the multi-score loss. Players get cut, coaches get fired and they get other jobs a lot of teams with rival teams this is not something unusual.

"So far the main response within China is to condemn and criticize this work", said Jing-Bao Nie, an expert on Chinese bioethics at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

The approach has been used previously to edit the HBB gene responsible for a condition called β-thalassaemia.

A total of eight volunteer couples - HIV-positive fathers and HIV-negative mothers - had signed up to the trial, with one dropping out before it was halted. When he saw He four or five weeks ago, He did not say he had tried or achieved pregnancy with edited embryos but "I strongly suspected" it, Hurlbut said.

Dr. He said he conducted his research in secret.

The issue of editing human DNA is highly controversial, and in many countries is tightly controlled.

But experts worry meddling with the genome of an embryo could cause harm not only to the individual but also future generations that inherit these same changes.

"It is impossible to overstate how irresponsible, unethical and risky this is at the moment", said Kathy Niakan, a scientist at the Francis Crick Institute, in London, who was present at the summit.

"But if what he has done is to edit human embryos, and for them to be carried through to birth... there is a real risk of so-called off-target effects", he added.

The consent form mentions multiple risks, but there is little detail on potential complications of the gene-editing process itself, including for the child. The team don't seem to have had adequate training on proper consent processes.

He's vague answers at the summit prompted more questions from the audience.

Antonio Regalado, senior editor for biomedicine for MIT Technology Review - the publication which first highlighted the trial on Sunday - said He's talk was "ethically a half-baked mess". He insisted he did know enough.

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