The Scientists Strongly Condemned for the First Gene Editing Baby’s Birth in China

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By Parker Yang, Xenia Chiu

On November 26th, Associate Professor He Jiankui from Southern University of Science and Technology said that gene edited twin sisters were born in China in November. During the period of fertilized eggs, they modified the CCR5 gene in the embryo through CRISPR to create the world’s first genetically edited baby that is immune to AIDS.

Associate Professor He Jiankui indicated that he chose 7 couples which were having the birth treatment and changed the embryo, which were only one of them succeeded to pregnant. His purpose for using CRISPR is not aiming for curing or preventing the inherited diseases, but for trying to give people the rarely innate characteristic and to enhance the ability to fight against HIV.

However, this trial didn’t get support from the scientific essay, making the scientists know nothing about the progress of gene editing. Therefore, after the gene editing baby’s birth news released, there were hundreds of Chinese scholars cosigned and the scientists were strongly condemned this behavior for violating life and scientific ethics.

Dr. Kiran Musunuru, an expert of gene editing and editor of a genetics journal from University of Pennsylvania said that this research did not comply with the ethnic. Dr. Eric Topol, the head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in California also expressed that this was not a mature research. Dealing with the human operational instructions will be a big issue.

Dr. Jennifer Doudna, the inventor of CRISPR and professor of University of California, Berkeley, issued the following updated statement: “It is imperative that the scientists responsible for this work fully explain their break from the global consensus that application of CRISPR-Cas9 for human germline editing should not proceed at the present time. It is essential that this news not detract from the many important clinical efforts to use CRISPR technology to treat and cure disease in adults and in children. Public and transparent discussion of the many uses of genome editing technology must continue, as is happening over the next three days at the Human Genome Editing Summit in Hong Kong.”

Professor Feng Zhang , another CRISPR inventor and a member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard said: “Given the current state of the technology, I’m in favor of a moratorium on implantation of edited embryos, which seems to be the intention of the CCR5 trial, until we have come up with a thoughtful set of safety requirements first. In 2015, the international research community said it would be irresponsible to proceed with any germline editing without broad societal consensus about the appropriateness of the proposed application. This was the consensus statement from the 2015 International Summit on Human Gene Editing. It is my hope that the upcoming summit will serve as a forum for deeper conversations about the implications of this news and provide guidance on how we as a global society can best benefit from gene editing.”

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