A second CRISPR pregnancy is already under way, claims rogue Chinese scientist

A second CRISPR pregnancy is already under way, claims rogue Chinese scientist

A second CRISPR pregnancy is already under way, claims rogue Chinese scientist

The National Health Commission has ordered local officials in Guangdong province to investigate He's actions, and his employer, Southern University of Science and Technology, is investigating as well.

During the presentation on Wednesday, He, said, "For this specific case, I feel proud. I feel proudest", He said, when challenged by several peers. They say there are serious unanswered questions about the safety of embryo editing and a need to make sure that such research is conducted in a transparent, monitored way so the technology is not misused.

It was unclear whether the pregnancy had ended or not.

Prof He also said that the study had been submitted to a scientific journal for review, though he did not name the journal. Research in mice suggests that deleting CCR5 boosts visual and spatial memory, according to a 2016 study led by Alcino Silva of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Dr He Jiankui, announced on Monday that he had used the gene-editing technique Crispr to alter embryos of twin girls, whose father is HIV-positive, to prevent them from contracting the virus. He said his goal was not to cure or prevent an inherited disease, but to try to bestow a trait that few people naturally have - an ability to resist possible future infection with HIV, the AIDS virus.

Scientists have discovered how to edit genes using CRISPR-cas9 technology to supply a needed gene or disable one that is causing problems; only recently has this been tried in adults to treat diseases and changes are confined to that person.

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The girls had their genes edited so they could resist being infected with HIV, he said.

China has invested heavily in gene-editing technology, bankrolling research into a number of world "firsts", including the first use of the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 in humans in 2016 and the first reported use of gene-editing technology to modify nonviable human embryos in 2015. Medical advances need to be openly discussed with patients, doctors, scientists and society, he said.

Scientists at the conference pressed He to prove that those taking part in the trial were aware of all the risks involved in the process. He's PR representative said He will not accept interview requests from the media at present due to privacy concerns, but that he will release a statement in the days to come. It does not mention that such an experiment has never been done before. "We only found out about it after it happened, and after the children were even born". Indeed, just within the last two years another set of renegade scientists flaunted established norms to bring about the first "three-parent IVF" babies; there was tremendous outcry, but the procedure now seems to be continuing in the relatively lax regulatory environment of Ukraine.

He's research has sent shockwaves through the worldwide scientific community, with many raising concerns over the lack of verified data and the risks of exposing healthy embryos to gene-editing.

In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Tuesday, the group said preliminary investigations indicated the signatures on the application form circulated on the internet are "suspected to have been forged, and no relevant meeting of the Medical Ethics Committee of the hospital in fact took place".

The outcome of those investigations remains to be seen, but it is part of a disturbing pattern in reproduction: rogue scientists bucking global norms to engage in ethically and scientifically dubious reproductive research.

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