Medical

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

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

But scientists and the Chinese government have denounced the work and a hospital linked to He's research suggested its ethical approval was forged. Scientists there created the world's first gene-edited human embryo and the first cloned monkeys, as two examples.

He Jiankui, an associate professor at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, addressed about 700 people attending the Human Genome Editing Summit at the University of Hong Kong on Wednesday. Eight couples chosen from a list of candidates recommended by Baihualin had agreed to take part in the study, though one later dropped out. They had HIV positive males and HIV negative mothers. The resulting twins, born earlier this month to an unknown couple, are now supposedly immune to HIV.

He said the gene-editing procedure was performed on the embryo of the first woman to become pregnant, while treatment of the remaining six couples did not proceed because of the current situation.

"I feel more disturbed now", said David Liu of Harvard and MIT's Broad Institute, and inventor of a variation of the gene-editing tool.

The presidents of the US National Academy of Sciences and the US National Academy of Medicine said the work "clearly demonstrates the need for us to develop more specific standards and principles that can be agreed upon by the global scientific community".

She also called for public and transparent discussion of the technology so "that this news not detract from the many important clinical efforts to use CRISPR technology to treat and cure disease in adults and in children".




"Scientists who go rogue ... it carries a deep, deep cost to the scientific community", Daley said. He is being accused of unduly experimenting on humans with an unproven and potentially unsafe technology. Although he still hasn't published any real evidence, scientists across the world were quick to condemn the ethically dubious claims, describing the experiment as "deeply concerning", "shocking", and "monstrous".

In this October 10, 2018 photo, He Jiankui, left, and Zhou Xiaoqin work a computer at a laboratory in Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong province.

According to the New York Times, Xu Nanping, China's vice minister of science and technology, said He's work was still being investigated, but based on news reports, he said, He appeared to have "blatantly violated China's relevant laws and regulations" and broken "the bottom line of morality and ethics that the academic community adheres to". There are several critics who have blamed the lax regulatory structure of the country for allowing such experiments to happen in the first place. He did not file for clinical trial registry of his work until after it was completed and the twin girls were already born.

A message sent through Ministry of Science and Technology's website wasn't immediately answered. He said he initially paid for the research himself, then later from his university funding.

The Genetics Society of China and the Chinese Society for Stem Cell Research has also condemned He's research calling it "extreme irresponsibility, both scientifically and ethically". That's why summits like the one held this week are put together, so that scientists can work together to come up with rules on how to utilize such incredible power over life. "My raw data will be made available for third party review", the AP reported.