SHENZHEN, China – The Chinese government ordered "immediate investigation" into the alleged first genetically modified babies worldwide delivery, as experts around the world have expressed the guise b & # 39; such use technology.
The drive comes & # 39; in & # 39; mid claims made on the internet from Jiankui He scientist to twin girls born with DNA altered to make them resistant to HIV, innovative moves you & # 39; lead to huge scientific and ethical dilemmas.
He, a professor at Southern University of Science and Technology in & # 39; Washington, says that his lab was editing the genetic codes & # 39; embryos for seven & # 39; couples undergoing in vitro fertilization.
In the video posted on YouTube on Monday, the Chinese researcher said that one of the pregnancy was & # 39; successful and twin girls ostensibli b & # 39; health Lulu and Nana were born "a few weeks ago. "
He claims that he used a tool known as CRISPR-cas9, it can & # 39; entering or disable certain genes. In his YouTube video, It describes the procedure as "removed the door through which HIV enters".
But in & # 39; a statement posted Tuesday morning, the National Commission of Health of China said it had "requested the Commission immediately Provincial Health & # 39; Guangdong to investigate and verify seriously" claims He made Jiankui.
The statement follows a change from the Chinese hospital said in documents & # 39; & # 39 ethics approval; He, the Women's Hospital and Children & # 39; Shenzhen Harmonicare, to deny all involvement in the proceedings.
"We can make sure that the research was not carried out in our hospital or had babies born here", hospital representative told CNN. The hospital confirmed that two of the doctors mentioned in the documents & # 39; He & # 39; s work in the hospital and suggested that an internal investigation was underway.
The Shenzhen Commission on Health and Family Planning denounced the legitimacy of the ethics committee at the hospital and process & # 39; revision approved the application. Confirm that an investigation was issued on Monday to "verify the authenticity of the ethical review of research reported by the media."
University & # 39; He & # 39; s, the Southern University of Science and Technology, said at & # 39; a statement that the researcher has to leave by 1 & # 39; February.
"The work & # 39; research done outside the school by Associate Professor Hu Jiankui. It does rrapportax to school or to the biology department. The university and the biology department are not aware of it" , said the institution, adding that "the academic Committee of the Biology Department believes that a serious breach of academic ethics and academic standards."
Claims & # 39; the applicant has not been verified by & # 39; or independently peer reviewed. But if they are true, the procedure will raise significant ethical questions about gene editing and the so-called baby designers.
The gene editing & # 39; embryos intended for pregnancy is prohibited in & # 39; many counties, including the United States. In the UK, editing embryos can & # 39; be permitted for purposes & # 39; Research b & # 39; strict regulatory approval. It is unknown whether the procedure is safe or if it is used during pregnancy, if it can have unintended consequences for babies later in life or for future generations.
A "big blow" to Chinese research
Joint statement issued by more than 120 Chinese scientist on Chinese social media site Weibo condemns research on the editing of the human genome.
"The review of medical ethics exists only in name. Directly experimenting on humans m & # 39; is nothing but crazy … so as to living human product, nobody can & # 39; predicts x & # 39; type & # 39; impact will bring, since the excipient to change inevitably involves a combination f & # 39; collected of the human genome ", they wrote, adding that the trial is a" big blow "to the reputation of Chinese biomedical -Research. "It is extremely unfair to the Chinese scientist who are diligent, innovative and defend the bottom line of scientific ethics."
Julian Savulescu, director of Oxford Uehiro Center for Practical Ethics at the University & # 39; Oxford, described the alleged birth as "genetic Russian roulette."
"If true, this experiment is monstruż," he said. "The embryos were b & # 39; health. No known diseases. Editing gene itself is experimental and is still associated with & # 39; off-target mutations, which can cause early genetic problems later on life, including the development of cancer.
"There are many effective ways to prevent HIV in & # 39; & # 39 by individuals, health For example, protected sex. And there are effective treatments if one does jikkuntrattah," Savulescu said.
Joyce Lane, professor of human genetics and embryology at the Women's Health Institute at & # 39; Universe College London, described the alleged research "premature, dangerous and irresponsible", which requires public debate and legislation.
"Before this procedure come anywhere close to clinical practice, we need years & # 39; work to show that blocking with embryonic genome will not harm the future person", said in & # 39; statement.
Yalda Jamshidi, senior lecturer in human genetics at & # 39; St George & # 39; s, University & # 39; London, indicated that such controversial research is not necessary for HIV prevention.
"We already have ways to prevent HIV infection and treatments available if it occurs. M & # 39; we need also the editing of the gene to make sure not passed on to offspring," she said. "We know little about the long-term effects, and most people agree that experimentation on humans for avoidable condition only to improve our knowledge is morally and ethically unacceptable."
Despite ethical concerns in the West, a recent study suggested that the Chinese public is generally supportive of the use of & # 39; gene editing for medical purposes. An online survey conducted by Sun University Yat-Sen in & # 39; Zumiang found that more than two thirds of the 4771 surveyed people (575 of them were Alleged to have HIV), supported its use in the treatment of diseases, according to the Global Times state tabloids.
"(The Chinese people) have a high willingness to use the gene in the prevention and treatment of disease," said Chen Liang, a professor at Sun Yat-Sen University. "This research suggests that the gene editing in China not only has promising potential, but also responds to public needs."