Science

Chinese Scientists Claim to Have Created World's First Gene-Edited Babies

Chinese Scientists Claim to Have Created World's First Gene-Edited Babies”

Prof He alleged that he got rid of the gene CCR5 from the twin girls, Lula and Nana, meaning that they could never contract HIV.

But not all researchers joined wholeheartedly in condemning the use of CRISPR editing on human embryos.

After creating an embryo via in vitro fertilization, the doctor used the gene-editing tool CRISPR (short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) to surgically change one out of 3 billion letters of the embryo's DNA code, in order to build in a resistance to HIV infection. "Science operates under a social licence - scientists work within limits defined by broader community concerns", said Darren Saunders, associate professor in the school of medical sciences at the University of New South Wales, in an emailed statement. Mitalipov added. "He's testing his hypothesis on babies". It's like a biological cut-and-paste program: An enzyme that acts like molecular scissors snips a section of a gene, allowing scientists to delete, fix or replace it.

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".

Finally, the gene editing tool was added.

Musunuru is a gene editing expert and editor of a genetics journal. "This work reinforces the urgent need to confine the use of gene editing in human embryos to settings where a clear unmet medical need exists". The scientist claimed he altered seven couples' embryos during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting.

He says his team performed "gene surgery" on embryos created from their parents' sperm and eggs to protect the children from the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV, which causes AIDS. He refused to identify the parents or their location, and no scientific journal has independently verified his claims. Plus, long-term negative effects might not become apparent for years.

The group's pioneer that shares the namesake of the editing technology has enrolled its first patient in a European study and recently opened enrollment in the USA for patients with severe sickle cell disease in trials with partner Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. The academy said if it is ever allowed, it should be reserved to treat or prevent serious diseases with no good alternatives. But other researchers disagree.

But critics said Monday's announcement opens the door to "designer babies". There is also no evidence of any harm to the embryos' other genes.

No independent outsiders know yet, which is partly why scientists are so disturbed.

Tests suggest that one of the twins, born this month, had both copies of the intended gene altered and the other twin had just one altered, with no evidence of harm to other genes, Mr He said. An online survey conducted by Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou found that more than two-thirds of the 4,771 people surveyed (575 of whom reportedly have HIV), supported its use in treating diseases, according to the state-run tabloid Global Times.

That so-called mosaicism, in which some but not all of the embryo's cells are altered, is troubling since in this case, it would mean that girl may not be entirely protected from HIV infection like her sister. Our goal is to help ensure that human genome editing research be pursued responsibly, for the benefit of all society. "For example, he might have made a mutation in a place he didn't intend to make a mutation". And researchers around the world have been racing to determine how it could be done safely. In the USA, it's not allowed except for lab research. Any pregnancy attempt would require permission from the Food and Drug Administration, which is now prohibited by Congress from even reviewing such a request - a de facto ban.

After the couples produced embryos through IVF, he used CRISPR to cut the CCR5 gene, disabling it in the hopes of making the embryos less vulnerable to HIV infection. Also, some so-called mitochondrial disorders can be addressed by using some genetic material from mom and some from a donor egg, along with dad's sperm.



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