A Chinese scientist who used the CRISPR technology to genetically modify babies “seriously violated” state regulations, according to a government investigation, that was reported by the Chinese state media.
China called an immediate end to He Jiankui’s experiments.
The world’s first gene-edited babies, twin girls named Lulu and Nana, were born in November.
China’s effort to lead the world in science and biotechnology, including the use of CRISPR, has led to bleeding-edge testing on monkey embryos, in non-viable human embryos, and now in human babies.
Mr. He’s research has fallen under intense scrutiny.
Mr. He cut a small portion of human DNA from a gene called CCR5.
People who are missing this chunk of genetic material appear to be resistant to infections with H.I.V. Dr. He reasoned that the genetically modified babies would resist the virus, too.
But, some scientists who watched Mr. He’s talk wondered if he might have actually removed the wrong chunk of the CCR5 gene. His rationale for the experiment–to create HIV resistance–also seems to be flawed, as there are other reliable treatments available.
China’s race for biotechnological dominance
The first “designer babies” has cast doubt over whether China’s regulatory system is dealing with the ethics and medical risks of CRISPR. In the United States and much of Europe, the process is prohibited in humans.
While CRISPR may be used to prevent or eliminate disease, the risks are still being considered.
How does CRISPR modify genes? Geek out on the simplest explanation ever.
Should we genetically improve our children? Let’s take a look at the debate.