Genetically modified babies: controversy grows and China started an investigation – 11/27/2018


China ordered an investigation to verify the claims of a Chinese scientist who claims to have created the first genetically modified babies in history, a madness by numerous researchers.

He Jiankui, a professor at Shenzhen University, Guangdong Province (south), announced in a video posted on Monday on YouTube the birth "a few weeks ago" of two twin girls whose DNA had been modified to make them more resistant to HIV, the virus that produces AIDS.

The justification, according to He Jiankui himself in another video, is that Mark, the father of the twins (Lulu and Nana) carries HIV.

"When Mark saw his daughters said he never thought he could be a father and that he now had a reason to live, a reason to work, a purpose. Mark has HIV. Discrimination in many developing countries makes the virus worse. Employers fire people like Mark. And doctors often deny them clinical treatment, "said the Chinese scientist.

Questioned scientist He Jiankui poses holding his book

Questioned scientist He Jiankui poses holding his book "The Human Genome". Behind, a stack of specimens recreates the spiral form of the human genome (Reuters).

However, the Chinese government was quick to react. "We have asked the health authorities of Guangdong province to immediately thorough investigation to clarify the facts, "they said from the National Health Commission on Monday night. They said they attached" great importance "to this issue.

The announcement of He Jiankui wave of criticism on the part of the world scientific community, even in the very center of the researcher, the University of Science and Technology of the South, that it disavowed and declared "deeply shocked".

The geneticist, who graduated from Stanford University and runs a special genome laboratory in Shenzhen, explained that he used the CRISPR / Cas9 technique (also known as the "genome scissors"), which allows removing and replacing undesirable parts of the genome, as if correcting a bug in a computer.

The twins Lulu and Nana were born after having been gestated by fertilization in vitro from modified embryos, before being implanted in the womb of Grace, his mother.

However, the medical scoop – as it was self-proclaimed – could not be corroborated because the results of the Chinese team were not published in any scientific journal.

Scientists from the laboratory of controversial Chinese researcher He Jiankui (AP).

Scientists from the laboratory of controversial Chinese researcher He Jiankui (AP).

More than 100 Chinese scientists, mainly biologists and doctors, lamented in a statement "crazy"which is" a major blow to the global reputation and development of biomedical research in China. "

Source: AFP


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