China investigates controversial genetic researcher | Gothenburg Publish


Researcher He Jianku told of his "attempt" – on Youtube. There, he claimed that he had changed the legacy of a newborn twin couple, Lulu and Nana. With the help of so-called crispr technology, the researcher should have changed the inheritance so that the children became resistant to HIV, ie the virus that causes AIDS.

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"I understand that my work will be questioned, but I think families need this technology, and I'm prepared to be criticized for it," he told Reuters. He said in the video posted.

Changing the human genome artificially and allowing the modified embryo to evolve into an individual is extremely controversial and banned in the vast majority of countries. As far as you know, it has never happened before.

Massive criticism

Criticism of He Jianku's research did not allow us to wait.

"If this is the case, it would be the most irresponsible, unethical and dangerous use of this genealogy technology," said Kathy Niakan, a specialist at the Francis Crick Institute in London.

The research institute is linked to the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, and states that the researcher is on unpaid leave since February and should not return until 2021. The university also claims that the researcher's efforts were not known. .

"The University of Science and Technology of the South requires that scientific research comply with national laws and regulations and respect and adopt international ethical standards," the university said in a statement.

Chinese officials say they have started an investigation, while the researcher himself seems to have disappeared or become irreversible.

Prior to that, he contacted the Reuters news agency, which he said he plans to share his research during a scientific forum this week, and plans to allow the research to undergo peer review before published in a scientific journal .

At the moment, though, no one knows if He Jianku actually did what he claims to have done. The question marks are still many.

Not surprised

Nils-Eric Sahlin, professor of medical ethics at Lund University, is not too surprised by the news.

The technology is there and there is interest in using it. But before using it, the world community must agree that it is safe to use, because today you do not know what the consequences might be. There is a moral aspect to the extent that something has been done with which these children can live throughout their lives.

TT: But was it also the first child in the test tube?

Yes, but this requires you to first conduct a thorough ethical review and study what the consequences might be. But above all, we all, not just the scientific community, are discussing what values ​​should be applied in Sweden. How do we want to do with this technology? As it is today, this is not allowed in Sweden, while technology has enormous potential. We have pointed out this long and Smer (National Council of Medicine) has proposed a parliamentary investigation. We need to discuss this – now, says Nils-Eric Sahlin.


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