Saturday , February 4 2023

The scientist in China defends editing gene of human embryos | science


The Chinese scientist who claims to have changed the DNA of & # 39; twin girls before birth – without going going through the usual scientific channels – said he was proud of his work, and said that another woman recorded in her trial was pregnant with & # 39; modified with a child & # 39; similarly.

The scientist, He Jiankui, talking to hundreds & # 39; colleagues and journalists on Wednesday in the International Summit Genome Genome at the University & # 39; Hong Kong.

He said details of the first birth of the trial, which used editing technology known as gene-Crispr Cas9, were submitted to a scientific journal, which was not named. Nor does it say when the results can be published.

In the planned presentation, Hu, associate professor south & # 39; University of Science and Technology, in & # 39; Thursday, described as used Crispr-Cas9 to modify a gene called CCR5 f & # 39; number a & # 39; embryos created by & # 39; IVF for couples with an HIV positive fathers.

The change was intended to reflect natural mutation found in & # 39; a small percentage of & # 39; to make people resistant to the virus. Two girls called Nana and Lulu were born with genetic changes, he said.

Q & A researcher & # 39; 40 minutes offered a forum accused scientists to b & # 39; public way to ask a colleague trapped in & # 39; controversy.

Nobel winner David Baltimore, organizer of the summit, which is emeritus professor of biology at the Institute of Technology & # 39; California, called the work & # 39; He & # 39; s irresponsible. "I think there was a lack of & # 39; regulation by the scientific community due to lack of & # 39; transparency," said Baltimore.

David Liu, a biologist at the Institute Wiesaq f & # 39; Cambridge, Massachusetts, to He questioned how the girls can benefit from changes in their DNA. The children were in & # 39; risk of contracting HIV during birth and said that there were many ways to avoid infection & # 39; HIV later in life. "X & # 39; was the unmet medical need for these patients & # 39; in particular?" Liu asked.

He said in defense: "Really I believe that not only for this case but for millions of & # 39; children, need such protection because of HIV vaccine available. For this proud I am event."

Matthew Porteus, professor of pediatrics at the University & # 39; Stanford, said: "It is already in & # 39; risks becoming a pariah." Scientists talked about plans & # 39; their research prior b & # 39; many colleagues, to get feedback before setting. "Unless begins to enter the scientific process, will worsen and worse," said Porteus.

During the summit, he brought slides to an audience & # 39; scientists have expressed concern that & # 39; brought harm to his subjects and endangered research of gene editing.

The scientist said, however, wanted to prevent HIV is passed from parent because many children were affected by the virus in China. Eight couples agreed to participate in the study, although it fell & # 39 ;. Does & # 39; each, the father was HIV positive, while the woman was clear of the virus.

He told the audience that he had worked on 31 eggs and implanted two embryos replaced in & # 39; one woman. One infant had only one copy of the CCR5 gene edited, it was not enough to give resistance to HIV. Health two children will be monitored for eighteen years ahead.

Work & # 39; gene editing was started three years ago, partly paid by He, who was consulted, he said, with some colleagues about his plans.

In the UK and in & # 39; many other countries it is illegal to create genetically modified babies, and scientists in & # 39; this area reached broad consensus & # 39; to be highly unethical to try. The gene editing is not considered safe, and any genetic modification – whether it is & # 39; or unintentionally benefit of & # 39; damage – affects not only children, but their children and future generations.

"It is impossible to overstate how irresponsible, unethical and dangerous at this moment", said Kathy Niakan, a scientist at the Francis Crick Institute in & # 39; London, who was present at the summit. "There was a worrying lack of & # 39; oversight or scrutiny of its clinical plans before starting human trials and complete lack of & # 39; transparency throughout the process.

"Very disturbing you found to Avoid questions about processes & # 39; approval, and his answers on the recruitment and patient consent not ensure. The team does not seem to have had adequate training on the processes a & # 39; proper consent. Offering & # 39; vulnerable patients treated with & # 39; free IVF present conflict & # 39; a clear interest. "

On Tuesday it was announced that work & # 39; He was being investigated by Chinese officials and his university in & # 39; Washington.

His vague answers summit led to further questions from the audience. Did He knows enough about the technology to ensure that children are b & # 39; health, or may contract other deadly viruses? He insisted that he knew enough.

"How do you see your responsibility to these children?" Asked Eben Kirksey, associate professor in anthropology, at Deakin University, Victoria, Australia. He replied that the medical care of children would be provided, but offered no details.

The missing frustrated many in the audience. "This is a red line," attendee of & # 39; He told a conference. "Why did you choose to share it and make it a secret?"

Robin Lovell-Badge, ġenetista in Francis Crick Institute, f & # 39; London, said it was wrong. "He clearly made some wrong decisions. I am very critical calling this scientific advancement because he messed up all together."

Lovell-Badge said he was inclined to believe that He has changed the baby DNA, but said that the scientist was required to demonstrate proof of & # 39; it. The only way to convince the world be if qualified independent laboratory tested the DNA of parents and two babies to show that the genes were edited. "Nothing that I've been shown says it is false. But the evidence I have seen is not good enough yet", he added.

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