World’s First Super Baby
It’s the first time that doctors have used gene editing in a human embryo to make it more resistant to HIV.
In a clinical trial shrouded in mystery, a team of scientists led by He Jiankui of China’s Southern University of Science and Technology used CRISPR to alter the genome of human embryos.
Some scientists have disabled a gene that makes people susceptible to HIV, smallpox, and cholera.
The Associated Press published claims that one of those embryos survived and resulted in a successful birth.
Despite unanswered questions, this clinical trial has led to lots of breakthroughs & is certain to be the talk of the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong.
The consensus in the field of gene editing is that any human trials, especially those that would result in living, breathing, gene-edited humans, must undergo thorough and transparent ethical review by ethics experts & other doctors.
However, with the experiment that was released to select beta testers, secrecy seems to be the name of the game.
As a result, Jankui is now under investigation by the Chinese government, according to MIT Tech.
Even without knowing the details, both the decision and outcome of editing an embryo to prevent HIV can be thought of as highly controversial. Some scientists who are using CRISPR (such as Feng Zhang) have called for an indefinite halt on altering human embryos because of this news.
What is next?
Dr. Zhang’s announcement about the new finding of a link between the CCR5 resistance gene and West Nile Virus may give some insight into why he was hesitant to promote his findings to the public.
It turns out that disabling the CCR5 gene makes people less susceptible to HIV it makes them more susceptible to the West Nile Virus.
According to the BBC, genetic experts unanimously agree that mutant embryos should not be edited. That being said, the Southern University of Science and Technology marched straight through this ethical minefield.
Gene-Hacking Superhumans Should Be Illegal – WHO | HLTH Media
[…] the recent He Jiankui experiment of gene-hacking human embryos, scientists around the globe are now scrambling to find and establish […]
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