Too soon to create gene-edited babies, say scientists

'An Experiment on Human Beings': Outrage as Chinese Researcher Claims to Change Babies' DNA

A scientist has said that he is "proud" to have created the world's first genetically edited baby as he defended his work.

More than 100 scientists, mostly 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.

There is no independent confirmation of He's claim and he has not yet published in any scientific journal where it would be vetted by experts.

He Jiankui, an associate professor at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, addressed a packed hall of around 700 people attending the Human Genome Editing Summit at the University of Hong Kong.

Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero sparked controversy previous year when he claimed to have conducted the world's first head transplant on a corpse at a Chinese hospital, the state-run Global Times reported at the time, though other scientists have called his claims overblown.

'An Experiment on Human Beings': Outrage as Chinese Researcher Claims to Change Babies' DNA
China Vows to 'Seriously Investigate' Genetically Altered Baby Claim

In many countries the editing of human DNA is tightly controlled.

He has spoken at the Human Genome Editing Summit at the University of Hong Kong for the first time about his work since the uproar. The twin girls, which are named Lulu and Nana, are reportedly healthy, but that has done little to silence He's critics. Nine couples, all of them with HIV-positive fathers, were claimed to have participated in He's gene-editing experiment.

"But if what he has done is to edit human embryos, and for them to be carried through to birth... there is a real risk of so-called off-target effects", he added. He released the video after MIT Technology Review reported on the existence of clinical trial documents indicating that researchers were recruiting potential parents for a gene-editing study of embryos that would then be implanted via in vitro fertilization.

Matthew Porteus, professor of paediatrics at Stanford University, said: "He's already at risk of becoming a pariah".

"I would hope that the global bodies that have stated quite firmly up until this point that we would not want this to happen would still stay firm regardless of someone going rogue", she said.

2nd LD: S.Korea, DPRK agree to conduct joint railway inspection
Experts believe that the radars could possibly deter North Korea from actually launching missiles against its southern neighbor. Earlier this year in April, Kim became the first North Korean leader since 1953 to cross into South Korean territory.


While there are no laws or regulations in China forbidding the creation of genome-edited children, such practice is widely condemned by the worldwide scientific community.

Dr. Eric Topol, who heads the Scripps Research Translational Institute in California, added that such DNA editing is "far too premature". Many researchers are interested in using the technology to eliminate or treat genetic diseases, as Business Insider has previously reported.

National and local health authorities in China announced investigations on Monday into He's research.

Additionally, Dr. He adamantly denies that his research and work in gene editing serves the goal of the infamous "designer baby" concept.

"The Pandora's Box has been opened, but we may still have a chance to close it before it is irreparable", the statement read.

Cindy Hyde-Smith wins runoff for Senate seat in Mississippi
Hyde-Smith's daughter later attended a similar private school established around the same time, according to the Free Press. In Mississippi, Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith has won a runoff special election for the U.S.


He showed data indicating that he had not detected unintended genetic changes caused by CRISPR/Cas-9, the gene-editing tool that he used - although it remains to be seen whether outside scientists will find the evidence convincing.

The Chinese Society for Cell Biology in a statement on Tuesday strongly condemned any application of gene editing on human embryos for reproductive purposes and said that it was against the law and medical ethics of China.

He chose the HIV virus because it has become a serious problem in China, with between 500,000 and 1.5 million people infected. "When you balance the minimal benefit in terms of protection against HIV, compared to increased chance of dying from a fairly common infection like the flu, I don't think that works out on balance". And earlier this year, Chinese scientists unveiled monkeys that were cloned using the same technique that produced Dolly the Sheep two decades ago.

When asked about the source of research funding, He said the study had started out with funding from SUST, but had later paid participants' medical expenses through his company. Details on the process, the specific mutations and analysis used to screen for potentially harmful "off-target" genomic changes were also presented today.

Kartarpur opening will not lead to bilateral dialogue, says Sushma Swaraj
Sidhu said the improvement of relations between Pakistan and India can open many benefits for the people of the two countries. Owing to India's refusal to attend, Pakistan will not be able to convene the event for the third year now.


Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Durant saves Warriors: 49 points lift Golden State past Magic
Nov 29, 2018 - 11:05
Jones has start 19 of the Warriors' 21 games this season and is averaging just 3.1 rebounds. "I still missed 17 shots". Later that night Curry said he was "all good" after going through an extensive on-court workout at Oracle Arena.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump’s Chinese Tariffs Target Consumer Electronics, Including Sony and PlayStation
Nov 29, 2018 - 08:15
Mr Lighthizer said in a statement that he was taking such action at the direction of President Donald Trump. One notable leader Trump is not planning to meet with is Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Lack of Khashoggi intelligence forges 'unusual alliance' in the Senate
Nov 29, 2018 - 08:14
The US Senate on Wednesday subsequently voted 63-37 to advance a resolution to end support for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen . Yemen, he said, is in crisis, with millions of people lacking access to food and clean water and facing rampant disease.

Markelle Fultz's Shoulder Exams To Continue Through Wednesday
Nov 29, 2018 - 08:00
After a wild rookie year filled with controversy and injuries, the days of Fultz being a dominant point guard seem long gone. As for those visits, ESPN reported Monday that Fultz would see a specialist in NY on Monday and again mid-week.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Porsche 911, 2020 Lincoln Aviator, 2019 Mazda 3
Nov 29, 2018 - 07:58
To help keep that power in check and offer improved performance to match, the 911 Carrera S is now 1.77 inches wider up front. The Carrera S has a top speed of 191 miles per hour and accelerates from zero to 60 miles per hour (96.5 kph) in 3.5 seconds.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Carragher warns Chelsea: Kante and Jorginho can't work together
Nov 29, 2018 - 07:49
Alan Shearer has questioned why Maurizio Sarri is refusing to play N'Golo Kante in his best position in the Chelsea FC team. First of all I want to see a reaction, but I want to see a reaction in the next Premier League match as well.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Top Cyber Monday Deals on Apple Watch: Series 4, Series 3…
Nov 28, 2018 - 23:47
That's a very compelling price point, although Amazon's deal actually is a bigger discount, beating Best Buy's equivalent by $20. For these deals, you'll be able to shop Apple devices without having to leave your warm and comfy home.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Jahana Hayes says she supports Pelosi for house speaker
Nov 28, 2018 - 23:27
Joe Cunningham of SC and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia are among those who said they'd vote against Pelosi on the House floor. The anti-Pelosi group has been in a scramble lately as it tries to tamp down members in the group from defecting.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Braves, 3B Donaldson agree to one-year deal
Nov 28, 2018 - 22:43
McCann, who will turn 35 in February, began his career in Atlanta, playing there for his first nine seasons. If he can play a full year and put up big numbers, then he'll be in line for a bigger deal next offseason.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tiger Woods exhausted , beaten down after astonishing 2018 comeback
Nov 28, 2018 - 21:59
We're going to build content for everyone, whether you've been playing golf for a long time or just starting out. GolfTV will be available in all worldwide markets , excluding the U.S., China and South Korea.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Lion Air plane not airworthy before fatal crash, investigators say
Nov 28, 2018 - 18:58
The lack of the aircraft's cockpit voice recorder, which is still missing, is a dire obstacle to resolving that mystery, the investigators said.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Migrant caravan members reconsider asylum claims after border clash
Nov 28, 2018 - 18:40
Representative Susan Davis blames President Trump for failing to allow migrants to legally apply for asylum in a timely fashion. Sanitary conditions are getting worse by the day, and growing numbers are now camping out on the street outside the shelter.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top 2.0 preview: The Rajini- Akshay Kumar starrer looks to meet huge expectations
Nov 28, 2018 - 17:41
Stands to prejudice the ongoing proceedings before the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in Bhupesh Sehgal and Ors v. It is believed to be the costliest Indian film to have ever been made, with a budget of over Rs 600 crore.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Matthew Hedges pardoned by UAE 'with immediate effect'
Nov 28, 2018 - 17:10
Hedges was detained in May as he was about to depart from Dubai International Airport after a research trip to the UAE. He went on to spend nearly six months in solitary confinement. "In my heart, I know that he isn't a spy", she said.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Anthony Davis trade update as Lakers and Celtics rumours build
Nov 28, 2018 - 16:26
All-Star forward Anthony Davis missed the game at Washington because of a hip injury sustained a night earlier in NY . It's been an inauspicious start to the 2018-2019 National Basketball Association campaign for the Boston Celtics .