Scientist claiming gene-edited babies reports 2nd pregnancy

HeJiankui

The Shenzhen hospital has never participated in the clinical operation related to the gene-edited babies and the twins were not born at the facility, the company said.

Jiankui He arrives to speak at the 2nd International Summit on Genome Editing, Hong Kong November 28, 2018.

While a Chinese scientist claims to have produced the world's first gene-edited babies in Shenzhen, the city's medical ethics authorities say they hadn't received an application to conduct such an experiment and are now investigating the case, according to officials cited by The Beijing News.

The researcher, He Jiankui (HEH JEE-ahn-qway) of Shenzhen, revealed the possible pregnancy Wednesday while making his first public comments about his controversial work at an worldwide conference in Hong Kong.

He told the AP he felt a strong responsibility "not just to make a first, but also to make an example" for future research.

In videos posted online, scientist He Jiankui defended what he claimed to have achieved, saying he had performed the embryonic gene editing to help protect the babies born this month from infection with HIV, the virus that causes Aids.

He's team worked with seven Chinese couples, all of which included an HIV-positive father.

"There is another one, another potential pregnancy", he said on stage. "This suggests that the research of gene editing in China not only has a promising potential, but also is responding to the public's needs". One of them was said to have given birth to the twins.

Au also said he was expecting to learn the actual behavioural outcomes of the animals from the studies other than the data and technology involved.

Southern University of Science and Technology said that it is unaware of the research project and is launching an investigation.

In addition, Zhang said that in 2015, "the worldwide 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 worldwide Summit on Human Gene Editing.) It is my hope that this year's 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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"I personally don't think that it was medically necessary".

"Using these technologies prematurely can really adversely impact the entire scientific field", Caulfield went on.

It's "unconscionable.an experiment on human beings that is not morally or ethically defensible", said Dr. Kiran Musunuru, a University of Pennsylvania gene editing expert and editor of a genetics journal.

But the co-inventor of CRISPR condemned He's trial as risky and unnecessary. "What he has done was not transparent. does not represent science".

CRISPR has been used in adults but not eggs, sperm or embryos that have been carried to term because changes to DNA in those situations can be passed to future generations. The objective of the experiment was to eliminate a gene (CCR5) in hopes of making the children resistant to diseases such as HIV, smallpox, and cholera. Chinese scientists have expressed disapproval of Jiankui's research, stating that the use of the CRISPR-Cas9 tool is a "huge blow" to the reputation of Chinese biomedical research.

Genetic research is simply too tempting for scientists to avoid.

He is now under investigation by his university, the Chinese government and the hospital he claims gave him ethical approval for the trial.

There is also a history of fraud within China's academic community - including a scandal previous year that led to the withdrawal of 100 "compromised" academic papers.

He has not released the identities of the participants of his trial. In the United Kingdom, editing of embryos may be permitted for research purposes with strict regulatory approval.

"But University of Massachusetts Lowell assistant professor Nicholas Evans tweeted: "(D) on't get me wrong, privacy is vital here. There is no independent confirmation of this claim, The Associated Press reported.

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