Saturday , December 5 2020

A Chinese scientist who claims to have "edited" the genes of twins struck by peers and medical ethics


November 27, 2018 08:11:44

A Chinese university says it will immediately begin an investigation after an assistant publishes YouTube videos claiming to have edited the twin genes born earlier this month and defending the ethics of his work.

Key points:

  • He Jianqui says he has copied and placed on defective genes
  • Scientists say this is a "huge blow" to the reputation of Chinese science
  • The very controversial credibility of Mr X's allegations.

Southern University of Science and Technology in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen said he did not know about the research project and that academician He Jiankui had been on unpaid leave since February.

Work is a "serious violation of academic ethics and standards."

The University issued a statement after Mr. He said in five videos posted on the video sharing website on Monday that he had used a gene-editing technology called CRISPR-Cas9 to edit the twins' genes.

The editing process, which he calls gene surgery, "worked safely for purpose" and the girls are "healthy as all other babies," he says in a video.

It is impossible to corroborate the allegations, as Mr has not provided any written documentation for his research.

"Monster" experiment

CRISPR-Cas9 is a technology that allows scientists to essentially cut and insert DNA, raising the hope for genetic corrections for disease. However, there are concerns about its safety and ethics.

"If true, this experiment is monstrous," said Julian Savulescu, director of the Oxford Waheiro Center for Practical Ethics at Oxford University.

Southern University of Science and Technology said it would set up an independent panel of experts to investigate. He said that Mr. He was on unpaid leave until 2021.

"The Southern University of Science and Technology strictly requires scientific research to comply with national laws and regulations and respect and respect international academic ethics and standards," he said.

He defended his job and said he had been on a voluntary leave for several years to focus on his research.

"I understand that my work will be controversial, but I think families need this technology, and I'm ready to take criticism of them," he said.

In an earlier email, Mr He said he plans to share data on the scientific forum process this week.

He said he is also planning to "go through the peer review process and soon through prepress".

Pre-print is a publication of the findings made before the study is published in the peer-reviewed journal.

"These healthy babies are used as genetic guinea-pigs, genetic genetic roulette," said Savulescu.

Mr He said he was trying to provide gene-protected babies with "lifetime protection" against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

He said he started his work in the second half of 2017 and has registered eight couples. All participating potential fathers are HIV-positive.

Five have chosen to implant embryos, including the twins' parents, identified only by the pseudonyms Mark and Grace.

In April 2015, researchers from Sun Jutsun University challenged a global dispute after publishing the results of an experiment using CRISPR-Cas9 to edit the genes of non-viable human embryos.

Chinese scientists are angry at the experiment

Mr E.'s experiment has also raised hatred amongst his peers at home, in addition to those abroad.

In an open letter published in the profile of Weibo Zhishifenzi (Intellectuals), a group of 122 biomedical scientists are talking about the threat they pose to humans and the implications for the reputation of Chinese scientists.

"The so-called biomedical ethical review of this study actually exists only in the name," the letter writes.

– Direct human experiments [without ethical assessment] can only be described as madness.

"The accuracy of the CRISPR gene editing technology and its gap-effect are very controversial in the scientists' community.

"Every attempt to directly transform human embryos and produce babies has enormous risks.

"At the same time, this is a huge blow to the global reputation and development of Chinese science, especially in the field of biomedical research."

Editing human genes stems from eugenics

In a previous age, the Western science weapon unites the genetic fund of mankind in the field of eugenics – a field of research that claims to "improve" the human race by selectively multiplying and destroying those who are considered "defective".

More often, those with a white European heritage are considered to be at the top of the public order of germination, and those with "low IQs and tiny heads" are thrown as "inappropriate" members of the genetic pool.

Before his death, the area was occupied by many scientists and political leaders in the United States and Germany, who in the late 1930s created the Ku-Klux-Klan conditions in America and the Third Reich.

This system of beliefs also went to Australia, and Melbourne at the heart of the movement.


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