Publicado: Vie, Noviembre 30, 2018
Salud | Por Gertrudes Rodriquez

Scientist hints at another gene-edited baby

Scientist hints at another gene-edited baby

He defended his work, saying he feels "proud" to have used gene-editing techniques to make the twin girls HIV resistant.

He said there was "another potential pregnancy" involving a second couple but when questioned further, he said it was a chemical pregnancy - a term referring to an early miscarriage.

It was unclear whether the pregnancy had ended or not.

He said he had funded the experiment himself and confirmed his university had not been aware of it. He said he had submitted his research to a scientific journal for review and had not expected to be presenting it at this conference.

He also thanked his university, the Southern University of Science and Technology in China, but noted that they were "unaware of the study's conduct".

He, a former Stanford University postdoctoral fellow who is based at China's Southern University of Science and Technology, said that his team first worked on mice and monkey embryos using a cutting-edge gene-editing technology known as CRISPR to disable a gene that allows the HIV virus to penetrate cells.

He argued in his conference talk that the editing he did on the embryos of the newborn twin girls and on the third embryo-which, if successful, would confer resistance to HIV infection-is akin to a vaccine, the AP reports.

The organisers of a conference where a Chinese scientist claimed to have edited the genes of twin babies condemned the work today, calling it "deeply disturbing" and "irresponsible".

Conference moderator Robin Lovell-Badge said He's trial was a "backward step" for the science industry, but described the babies' birth as "momentous" nonetheless.

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The union said the scientific and technological circles of China would, as always, stick to scientific and academic ethics and related worldwide rules, and promote social development and human progress through innovative scientific research.

Xu said the ministry is firmly against the research, noting that clinical procedures of gene-editing on human embryos for reproduction purposes are explicitly banned in China.

"The Pandora's Box has been opened, but we may still have a chance to close it before it is irreparable", the statement read.

"He didn't answer properly most of the questions". It does not mention that such an experiment has never been done before.

He's claim would "be considered irresponsible", Baltimore said.

Dr Daley said that just because the first case may have been a mis-step, this "should in no way, I think, lead us to stick our heads in the sand and not consider the very, very positive aspects that could come forth by a more responsible pathway".

According to an Associated Press report, He Jiankui said the father had the disease and the mother did not. He said he would monitor the two newborns for the next 18 years and hoped they would support continued monitoring thereafter.

He added that his research involved 7 couples, and that another woman may be carrying a gene-edited baby.

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