Thursday, 13 December, 2018

'Gene-edited babies': China halts work of He Jiankui

He Jiankui He Jiankui
Elijah Vega | 03 December, 2018, 03:19

Editing human embryos can create unintended mutations in other areas - so-called "off-target effects" - which can be carried through to birth, experts warned.

According to the scientist, the parents participating in the experiment, refuse to reveal their identity and want their names, place of work and position remained confidential.

One reason for the caution is that changes to an embryo would be inherited by future generations and could eventually affect the entire gene pool and that it is risky.

CRISPR is easier to use and more precise than previous methods, but it is not a ideal technology.

"Given the current early state of genome editing technology, I'm in favor of a moratorium on implantation of edited embryos ... until we have come up with a thoughtful set of safety requirements first", Feng Zhang, one of the co-discoverers of CRISPR and from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, said in a statement responding to the report. "Not only do I see this as risky, but I am also deeply concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding this trial". There are high hopes these molecular scissors may aid in curing diseases such as cancer or others conditions - but scientists around the world had agreed careful regulation was required before the technology was used in humans.

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

Kylie Jenner shows fans how to pull off bright pink eyeshadow
The video includes a behind-the-scenes look at her time spent backstage with daughter Stormi who gets her own room at every venue. Kylie said they don't want to take her to the actual concert because its way too loud which is totally understandable.

CRISPR-Cas9 is a tool for making precise edits in DNA, discovered in bacteria. The couples then had the choice of whether to use edited or unedited embryos for implantation.

It's all uncharted territory, and the long-term consequences of gene editing on humans can be unpredictable, which is why the scientific community advises caution.

The Southern University of Science and Technology in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen said it had been unaware of the research project and that the academic, He Jiankui, had been on leave without pay since February. "The research was conducted outside of the campus and was not reported to the University nor the Department [to which He belongs]". The university said He's work and Deem's involvement "violates scientific conduct guidelines and is inconsistent with ethical norms of the scientific community and Rice University". "The University will call for worldwide experts to form an independent committee to investigate this incident, and to release the results to the public". Twin girls were born a few weeks ago, purportedly protected from HIV when CRISPR disabled a gene that would otherwise allow HIV to enter their cells.

Professor Joyce Harper, professor in genetics and human embryology at London's UCL, said: "Today's report of genome editing human embryos for resistance to HIV is premature, unsafe and irresponsible". Tests suggested one of the newborn twins had both copies of the intended gene altered and the other twin had just one altered, with no evidence of harm to other genes, Mr He added.

However, as the father of the twins (and all the men in the trial) had viral levels suppressed by standard antiretroviral therapy for HIV "there is zero risk of onward viral transmission" to his partner or children, according to Professor Sarah Fidler at Imperial College London. This claim, however, is unverified, and the work has yet to be published in any journal. It was impossible to verify the claims as He did not provide any written documentation of his research.

On Tuesday in Hong Kong opened an worldwide conference on gene editing and speech Heh Sankwia in the full form will be on it.

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