A Chinese scientist who claims to have created the first genetically modified silhouette in history on Wednesday announced a "break" in his clinical studies following the global controversy revealed by his statement.
At a medical conference on Wednesday in a crowded amphitheater, he reiterated that he was allowed to give birth to twins whose DNA was modified to make them resistant to the AIDS virus.
He also explained that eight couples – all of whom were made up of a seropositive father and a seronegative mother – volunteered to take part in the trial, but one of them was referring.
"I apologize, because the result was unexpectedly leaked," he said, referring to videos posted on YouTube on Sunday, in which he announced the twin birth of Lulu and Nanu.
The current situation in clinical trials is a break, "added a scientist who runs the Shenzhen laboratory.
The announcement of this birth gave rise to sharp criticisms around the world about what many researchers call "madness." Many in the scientific community also condemned the lack of independent testing or the fact that healthy embryos were subject to genetic changes.
One step back
Some experts believe that such changes could lead to undesirable mutations in areas other than those treated. But he defended his work on Wednesday at the podium and said that parents, volunteers, were fully aware of the risk of "side effects" and "decided to implant".
He also stated that the South University of Science and Technology in the city of Shenzhen, to which he owned, "did not know about the trial."
The first center itself departed from the researcher, arguing that since February he was unemployed and unpaid and said he was "deeply shocked."
The organizers of the conference also said that they had no knowledge of his inquiry.
Round table moderator Robin Lovell-Badge admitted that this essay was considered a "step back" for the benefit of the scientific community.
"This is an example of an approach that has not been reasonably sensible and reasonable," he said. "However, it's clear that this is something historic, these two children would be the first two to be genetically modified, a big moment in history," added the moderator.
The chairman of the conference, biologist David Baltimore, Nobel Prize winner, condemned "lack of self-regulation of the scientific community due to lack of transparency."
A US-trained geneticist at Stanford University says he has used the CRISPR / Cas9 technique known as "genomic scissors," which allows you to remove and replace unwanted parts of the genome as if correcting a print error on your computer.
According to him, after in vitro fertilization from the modified embryos, twins were born before implantation in the mother's womb.
This technique opens the perspective of inherited diseases. But this is very controversial, as the changes made will be passed on to future generations and could affect the entire genetic heritage.
An American-based American researcher, Feng Zhang, who claims CRISPR / Cas9 paternity, said that his experiment is dangerous and not necessary. "This experience should not be done, and what he has done is not scientific," he told reporters during the conference.
China Science and Technology Vice-Premier Xu Nanping said on Tuesday, according to public TVs, that if twins are alive, this is illegal.
According to the ethical principles published in research on embryonic stem cells in 2003, in vitro culture is possible, but only 14 days after fertilization or nuclear transplantation.
According to Qiu Renzong, pioneers in Chinese bioethical issues, Chinese researchers often avoid sanctions because they have to report only to their institution. Some do not provide for penalties for professional misconduct.
China wants to become a leader in genetic research and cloning, but gray areas in the national legislation have allowed it to sometimes stop experimentation.