Pandora’s box is opened. The first children with altered DNA

Ящик Пандоры открыт. Первые дети с измененной ДНК

The first children are born with an artificially modified genes

A researcher from China using the CRISPR removed the embryos have the gene CCR5, which “opens the door for HIV into cells of the body.” Many scientists condemned it.

Chinese scholar Cisangkuy Hae earlier in the week announced the birth of the first children in the world with the edited genome. On 28 November at the conference in Hong Kong, Ho told about another pregnancy in the framework of this project.

The authorities started investigation about the legality of the actions of the scientist. And more than a hundred Chinese scholars wrote an open letter in which he accused Ho in the opening of Pandora’s box. Корреспондент.net tells details.

Modified children

Researcher Hae Cisangkuy from Shenzhen said that he changed the genes of embryos using the CRISPR method, the result of which was the first in the world children with a modified genome. They were twin girls Lulu and Nana.

The experiment involved seven pairs of programs of infertility treatment. All men were HIV-positive, and women healthy. Only the scientist was able to edit 16 of the 22 embryos, 11 of which were used in six attempts – one of which has ended in pregnancy and childbirth.

His aim was not the treatment or prevention of hereditary diseases, and empowering the body’s ability to immunity to HIV.

He Cisangkuy States that have removed the girls have the gene CCR5, which “opens the door for HIV into cells of the body”, than provided them with immunity to the virus. In the video scientists describe the birth of two healthy babies with altered genes “historical breakthrough of China in the prevention of disease.”

DNA / Getty

“Now they are healthy, and the father had a purpose to live and work, he has a goal,” – said the scientist.

While the results of his work were not published in scientific journals and have not been tested by other geneticists. About his work, the scientist told one of the organizers of the international conference on gene editing in Hong Kong and later gave the AP interview.

“The essence of the modification is to give the body immunity to the HIV virus. This mutation is naturally found in humans but very rare,” explained he.

The edit occurred during in vitro fertilization. He said that he wanted to pave the way for such research in the future.

“The company decides what to do next,” – said the scientist.

On 28 November at the conference in Hong Kong stated that in the framework of this project there is another pregnancy.

The method of directed genome editing called CRISPR-Cas9, has been discovered by scientists recently. Active laboratory experiments aimed at studying the possibilities of the method, carried out since 2012.

This is a relatively simple way, which at the genetic level may help in treating deadly diseases. While in the United States and Europe banned the use of the method on the human body and is allowed only in the framework of laboratory research.

China is one of the most advanced in terms of working with human genes countries. In the laws of the PRC, unlike many other countries, there is no direct ban on working with the genes of embryos. In 2015, scientists of the country, according to the newspaper Wall Street Journal, edited genes are 86 people with HIV and cancer.

However, in cases of children born with altered genes to the case of Ho Sanguem.

Cisangkuy studied in America before to open the laboratory and begin research in the homeland, in the southern science and technology University in Shenzhen. He also has two “genetic”.

Chinese researcher explained that for several years conducted research on mice and monkeys and then in human embryos, and even going to patent his method. Choice for genome editing for HIV it is proved that this virus is a serious problem for China.

He also noted that his University did not know about the project that he was financed from own funds.


The scientist criticized

The President of the University Chen Petry convened an emergency meeting, which brought together all the scientists who had at least an indirect relationship to the project, and told them that WANT has nothing to do with it.

The University announced that he Cisangkuy seriously violated the standards of academic ethics and that the University is going to conduct an investigation.

Advisory Council on medical ethics Shenzhen city also announced that it was beginning an investigation against Ho Cisangkuy.

National health Commission of China intends to check carefully the legality of the actions of the scientist.

Many researchers were amazed by the experiment he. 122 Chinese scholars wrote an open letter condemning his colleague and called on the government to sharply restrict the work of human genes.

“The Pandora’s box is open, but we can still shut it down before it’s too late. It’s just unfair to the Chinese researchers, which protect hard work and innovation, based on scientific ethics,” the letter reads.

“It is unconscionable experiments on human beings that cannot be justified neither from an ethical nor from a moral point of view,” said Dr. Kieran Musunuru, a geneticist from the University of Pennsylvania.

Against such experiments were made and one of the founders of the technology of genetic engineering CRISPR Feng Zhang. He said that “in the present state of technology,” considers reasonable the introduction of a “moratorium on replanting modified embryos”.

He also pointed out that by reducing the risk of HIV, two newborn girls received the increased risk of West Nile fever.

However, the famous geneticist George Church of Harvard University was supported by the Chinese scientist, calling the edit genes to counter HIV justified the attempt, because the disease is “a serious threat to health.”


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