Chinese baby-gene editing scientist 'proud of his work'

Chinese scientist behind 'gene-edited-babies' pauses clinical trial after public outcry but is 'proud' of his work

Chinese scientist behind 'gene-edited-babies' pauses clinical trial after public outcry but is 'proud' of his work

He Jiankui, a Chinese researcher, speaks during the Human Genome Editing Conference in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018.

The work of a research team that claimed to have produced the world's first gene-edited babies is illegal and has been halted, the Chinese government said Thursday.

David Baltimore, chair of the organizing committee of the Hong Kong summit and 1975 Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine, noted in his opening remarks on Tuesday that scientists can only do gene-editing experiments on human embryos for a maximum of 14 days to avoid the ethical complexity and complications that could arise from any prolonged research.

The MIT Technology Review warned that "the technology is ethically charged because changes to an embryo would be inherited by future generations and could eventually affect the entire gene pool".

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb also weighed in, emphasizing in a Twitter post the need for "more than just laws" to ensure CRISPR-Cas9 and other gene-editing technologies aren't misused or abused.

He said the girls were conceived to try to help them resist possible future infection with the AIDS virus.

University professor He, based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, said the twin girls, born a few weeks ago, had their DNA altered to prevent them from contracting HIV.

Then came a surprising, second twist: He says his trial has resulted in "another potential pregnancy" of a genetically-edited human, though that pregnancy is in very early stages.

Despite the blowback, the beleaguered scientist continued to insist that he is "proud" of the experiment, which he funded himself.

People and institutions involved in the matter have "brazenly challenged the bottom line of scientific research ethics and desecrated the spirit of science", said Huai.

Deem said he was in China when the participants agreed to genetic editing, and said they understood the risks, according to The Associated Press.

According to the South China Morning Post, the letter was published on social media on late Monday and was signed by scientists at some of China's leading research universities, such as Peking University and Tsinghua, as well as overseas institutions, including Stanford in the United States and Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research. He said the fathers in all seven couples who participated in the project were HIV positive.

China's National Health Commission ordered an "immediate investigation" into the case, the official Xinhua news agency reported, while the Shenzhen hospital meant to have approved the research programme denied its involvement.

"I think the failure was his, not the scientific community", Mr Charo said.

He, who said he was against gene enhancement, said eight couples were initially enrolled for his study while one dropped out.

Chinese scientists have also condemned the work and the Southern University of Science and Technology, where He is on leave from his position as an associate professor, has announced an investigation.

More than 100 scientists, most in China, said in an open letter on Tuesday the use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to edit the genes of human embryos was risky and unjustified.

Recommended News

  • INTERNATIONAL - Trump's ex-campaign chairman 'breached' plea agreement

    INTERNATIONAL - Trump's ex-campaign chairman 'breached' plea agreement

    Well, now Robert Mueller is alleging that Manafort has been lying to his team, as well as to the Federal Bureau of Investigation . The British newspaper reported that Manafort met with Assange "around March 2016", the same month he joined the Trump campaign.
    Bad decisions kept Fernando Alonso from greatness

    Bad decisions kept Fernando Alonso from greatness

    Johnson will drive Alonso's McLaren F1 auto after spending over six hours on the simulator at the team's headquarters in Woking. Fernando Alonso has played down expectations he might return to formula one in 2020.
    ESPN Analyst Crushes North Carolina’s New Coaching Hire

    ESPN Analyst Crushes North Carolina’s New Coaching Hire

    Brown, 67, is two years older than new Kansas coach Les Miles but nonetheless going to be tasked with the same kind of challenge. Jones added that Brown's time as a head coach has "passed" and that Les Miles would've been a better choice.
  • Ivanka Trump says her private emails not like Clinton's

    Ivanka Trump says her private emails not like Clinton's

    It has also raised security concerns, particularly over classified or sensitive information and the possibility of hacking. Ivanka Trump reportedly used her personal account up to 100 times in 2017 to contact other Trump administration officials.
    Fake news:United Kingdom  seizes confidential Facebook documents

    Fake news:United Kingdom seizes confidential Facebook documents

    The committee wanted the files, which have been sealed by a California judge, in the hope they would shed light on Facebook's privacy policies.
    Red Dead Online's beta goes live for everyone this week

    Red Dead Online's beta goes live for everyone this week

    For a full breakdown of Red Dead Online's expected features, check out our complete rundown on news and leaks so far. There's still a lot that's not known about Red Dead Online , though you will take control of a custom character.
  • Sensitive Facebook documents could be published 'within the next week'

    Sensitive Facebook documents could be published 'within the next week'

    He said his Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee would publish information it deemed to be in the public interest. The documents were not released at the hearing, but the member, Damion Collins, referenced them during questioning.
    Google Fi Now Works With iPhones - But Its Coolest Feature Is Missing

    Google Fi Now Works With iPhones - But Its Coolest Feature Is Missing

    Google's expanded device support will instead allow any normal phone to work on Google Fi as a purely T-Mobile device. This means that consumers never pay more than $80 per month, and potentially a lot less if they don't use much data.
    Pixel 3 Lite Caught Posing Next to iPhone XR, Pixel 3 XL

    Pixel 3 Lite Caught Posing Next to iPhone XR, Pixel 3 XL

    Russian site Wylsa has compared the Pixel 3 Lite against a number of handsets, including the Pixel 3 XL , the iPhone XR and more. There's also the accented power button on the side which looks to be coloured Yellow on the white variant of the Pixel 3 Lite .
  • Hydro One sending technicians to assist in California wildfire recovery

    Hydro One sending technicians to assist in California wildfire recovery

    The blaze that destroyed Paradise, California, and nearby towns was 95 percent contained as of Friday night. They're searching for telltale fragments or bone or anything that looks like a pile of cremated ashes.
    USA  service members killed in Afghanistan blast

    USA service members killed in Afghanistan blast

    Resolute Support said upon further investigation, it appears Jasso was "accidentally shot by our Afghan partner force". He said the company offers training for Afghan security forces. "There are no indications he was shot intentionally".
    Oprah's Mother Vernita Lee Has Died, Aged 83

    Oprah's Mother Vernita Lee Has Died, Aged 83

    Oprah Winfrey has thanked fans for their "kind words" after her mother, Vernita Lee , died at the age of 83. Meanwhile, she was abused by a cousin and an uncle while she lived with her mother, the TMZ article noted.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.