Preliminary results of the investigation into. genetic modification of children. Chinese authorities confirm second pregnancy
An investigation by Chinese authorities looking into the case of geneticist Hi Jankui has confirmed the birth of genetically modified twin girls, state media reported. The investigation has also confirmed earlier reports that there was another woman who became pregnant during the controversial experiments.
At the end of November last year, He Jankui surprised the world with the news of the birth of genetically modified baby – dwoch girls called in the media Lulu and Nana. The twins’ genome was altered using the CRISPR-Cas9 technique and the CCR5 gene was edited, ktory allows the HIV virus to enter human cellsorec. This procedure was performed on embryos during the in vitro procedure. The premise was to immunize girls against HIV infection. He also admitted that the experiments resulted in a second pregnancy, whichora is at a very early stage and it is unclear whether it will persist.
The case has attracted the interest of Chinese authorities, whoore have launched an investigation into the case. A special committee set up for this purpose confirmed during the investigation the birth of the two girls and the existence of a second woman pregnant with genetically modified offspring. The mother-to-be and Lulu and Nana have been taken into the care of Chinese authorities and are under constant medical observation.
The investigation also revealed that He forged documents and avoided supervision. The state-run Xinhua news agency reported in a release that a geneticist had independently organized the compositeoł wspoemployeeoIn those coming from outside China. The press release reads roAlso that to illegally edit human embryosow used an insecure and unproven safety technique. „Scientist pursued personal fame and controversial experimentsow used its own funds” – reads the announcement.
The authorities announced that zarowno He, as well as his wspoThe project’s collaborators and participating organizations will be penalized. He himself was expelled from his university – Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, whichory had already declared that the Stanford University-trained geneticist had seriously violated ethics and academic standards. The scientist is under the supervision of authorities.
Using falsified documentsow, He recruited eight couples to participate in his experiment, where the man was HIV-positive and his partner was healthy. The result was a dwoch pregnancies.
Children to be immune to HIV infection. However, experts admit that altering the CCR5 gene could make girls more susceptible to at least the flu virus. In addition, after studying Lulu and Nana, it turned out that only one of the girls has both copies of the gene altered. In the other, only one copy has been altered, which does not provide immunity against HIV.
Reports of the birth of genetically modified babies have caused ogolne a stir in the scientific community. Thunderstorms rained down on the geneticist from around the world, and his work was called „indecent experiment on humans, whichor that is neither morally nor ethically defensible”.
Sourceobackground: The Guardian, SCMP, fot. CC BY 3.0/ Wikimedia Commons. Pictured here is He Jankui