Marilynn Marchione, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, 28 & # 39; November, 2018 6:37 AM EST
HONG KONG – Chinese researcher argues that helped the first baby edited the first in the world to say that the second pregnancy can & # 39; underway.
The researcher, is Jiankui of & # 39; Shenzhen, revealed the possible pregnancy Wednesday while making his public first comments about his controversial work in & # 39; an international conference in & # 39; Hong Kong.
He alleges that changed the DNA of & # 39; twin girls were born earlier this month to try to make them resistant to infection with the AIDS virus. The principal scientists condemned the experiment, and universities and government groups are investigating.
The second potential pregnancy is at a very early stage and needs more time to be monitored to see if it will last long, he said.
The leading scientists said there are now more reasons to worry, and more questions than answers, after talking He & # 39; s. The leader of the conference called the experiment "irresponsible" and evidence that the scientific community has failed to regulate itself to prevent premature efforts to change the DNA.
Altering DNA before or at the time of conception is very controversial because the changes can be inherited and can damage other genes. It is prohibited in & # 39; some countries including the United States except for laboratory research.
He defended his choice of & # 39; HIV, rather than a deadly disease born, as a test case for gene editing, and insisted that girls can benefit from it.
"They need this protection by the vaccine is not available," he said.
Scientists did not buy it.
"This is really unacceptable development", said Jennifer Doudna, a scientist & # 39; University & # 39; California-Berkeley and one of the inventors & # 39; the tool & # 39; editing of the CRISPR genes used, he said. "I'm grateful that appeared today, but I do not think we have heard answers. We can still understand the reasons for it."
Doudna paid by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which also supports the Department of Health and Science & # 39; AP.
"I feel more restricted now", said David Liu & # 39; Harvard and the Broad Institute of MIT and inventor & # 39; variation of gene editing tools. "It's a small example of & # 39; X & # 39; have to do on promising technology that has great potential to benefit society. I hope never again & # 39; place."
M & # 39; there is no independent confirmation of the claim & # 39; and He is still not issued in & # 39; a scientific journal which examined by experts. During the conference, he failed or refused to answer several questions including who paid for his work, and ensured that participants understood the risks and potential benefits, and it kept his work secret until after it was done .
After He spoke, David Baltimore, Nobel winner from the Institute of Technology & # 39; California and leader of the conference, said that work & # 39; He "still be considered irresponsible" because it does not meet the criteria many scientists agreed several years ago before the gene editing account.
"I personally do not think it was medically necessary. The selection of the diseases that we have heard discussions today of & # 39; before are much more urgent" than trying to prevent HIV infection & # 39; this way, said Baltimore.
The case shows "there was a lack of & # 39; regulation by the scientific community" and said that the conference committee meets & # 39; and issue a statement on Thursday on the future of the area, said Baltimore.
Before speaking, Dr. George Daley, the dean of Harvard Medical School and one of the organizers of the conference, warned against gene editing because the experiment & # 39; He. Just because the first case could & # 39; it was wrong "m & # 39; is no way, I think, brings us to move our heads in the sand and do not consider the very many positive aspects that could come from road more responsible, "said Daley.
"Scientists who go rogue … carry deeper and deeper cost to the scientific community," said Daley.
Regulators have been quick to condemn the experiment as unethical and not scientific.
The National Health Commission ordered local officials in the province & # 39; Guangdong to investigate the actions of & # 39; He, and his employer, the Southern University of Science and Technology of China, is also investigating.
On Tuesday, Qui Renzong of & # 39; Chinese Academy of Social Sciences criticized the decision to leave is speaking at the conference, said that the statement "m & # 39; should be on our agenda "until it has been reviewed by independent experts. Whether breached the laws on reproductive medicine in China was not clear; Qui's claims, but said, "the problem is, m & # 39; there is no punishment".
He asked the United Nations to hold a meeting to discuss the heritable gene editing in promoting international agreement when it can & # 39; be good.
Meanwhile, more US scientists said they had contact with & # 39; He and were aware or suspect what he was doing.
Dr. Matthew Porteus, genetics researcher at the University & # 39; Stanford, where He did postdoctoral research, said Hu said in February that he intended to try editing the human gene. Porteus said that discouraged him and told him "it was irresponsible, he could & # 39; risk the entire field of gene editing by doing this b & # 39; Knight mode".
Dr. William HURLBUT, ethics & # 39; Stanford, said "spent & # 39; many hours' talk with & # 39; He over the past two years on situations where gene editing can & # 39; appropriate.
"I knew his early work. I knew where it was heading," said HURLBUT. When He saw four & # 39; or five weeks ago, He did not say he was tried or achieved pregnancy with & # 39; embryo edited but "I strongly suspect", HURLBUT said.
"I disagree with the concept of & # 39; improvement of the general consensus of the scientific community," said HURLBUT. If science is not considered ready or safe enough, "will create a non & # 39; agreement, discrepancies and non & # 39; trust".