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"Extremely negative": Chinese genetic editors are confronted with the News Act



Shenzhen, China – China has stopped He Jiankui, a scientist who claims to have produced the world's first gene-edited children in the world, and now he seems to have been punished after discovering many scientific studies condemned to be irresponsible.

His work was "extremely negative in nature," Zi and Vice Minister of Technology at Xi Nanpings told Xinhua news agency on Thursday.

X said genetically integrating the two girls' DNA in order not to discourage HIV from violating scientific ethics, adding that editing human embryos for genetic propaganda purposes is "explicitly forbidden" in China.

He acknowledged at Hong Kong's third conference on gene transcription that he had already begun another pregnancy, although it was too early to say whether it would take place in full time.

Embryos receive a small dose of Cas9 protein and PCSK9 sgRNS in a semen microscope in a Shenzhen lab [Mark Schiefelbein/AP]

The source who confirmed to Al Jazeera that he was returning to Shenzhen, although repeated calls to his cell phone did not answer and several messages sent to the phone were read without a reply.

David Cyranoski, the science magazine "Nature," has published social media that he is in a southern city and is ready to "fully cooperate with all investigations" about his work.

"Clearly resolved"

It is possible that a scientist will encounter issues related to the authorities in Shenzhen, as well as from the Ministry of Science and Technology. According to Xinhua, the Chinese National Health Commission said that his actions would be investigated and any wrongdoing would be done.

According to Qiu Renzong, the emired professor of philosophy, Qiu Renzong, and deputy director of the Center for Applied Ethics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, it is unclear what kind of punishment he may face because the laws of China are unclear.

He has explored the international scientific community, with many concerns about the lack of verified data and the risk that healthy embryos may be subjected to genetic editing, has sent shocking jars. Scientists have long been concerned about the impact of such genetic engineering on humanity.

R Alta Charo, professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, said that if he had tried the United States, it would have "violated public law" and included "sanctions" [that] is both civil and criminal, "because the Food and Drug Administration needs approval for human cells and therapeutic studies in which the cells are matured before pregnancy.

Police involvement?

Qiu noted in 2012 in Hong Kong province, three researchers were arrested and subsequently laid off with three officials who approved research on genetically modified rice enriched with vitamin A without the consent of their pupils.

"The three scientists were disciplined, they were relieved of their jobs, and they could not apply for grants for a certain period of time, therefore [He’s case] could be like this, "Qiu told Al Jazeera." I do not think the police will be involved, but the ministries will be disciplined. "

He said on Sunday when the world learned of the birthday of the published video that he used the embryo editing tool CRISPR-cas9 to prevent children from getting HIV from their father who is infected with the virus.

Anthropologist Eben Kirksey noted that CRISPR has become a magic word for HIV, because it is promised that "you only need to treat once". But he added that there are many other promising therapies to treat HIV, and he did not think that many HIV researchers "had a lot of hope" during genetic editing.

Scientific scientist Zhou Xiaoqin, on the left, loaded the Cas9 protein and the PCSK9 sgRNS molecule into a fine glass pipette at He Jiankui Lab Shenzhen [Mark Schiefelbein/AP]

He made a partial apology to the packed audience at the Second International Human Genome Transformation Summit in Hong Kong, although the controversy seems to be more relevant to information about birth events that came out before testing the research community's research rather than doing it.

The scientist told delegates that he was "lucky" with his work, adding that if the same situation happened, he would try it out first.

Most other researchers felt that it was too early to move on to this issue, given the huge ethical issues that arose from being "edited", such as Lulu and Nana, by the words He gave to twin babies, and "unmodified" people's living side by side.

"Would it not be advisable to attempt to define a general ethical code of conduct, at least a minimum of consensus and what is a study and what is the standard?" asked Barbell Friedrich, director of the Alfred Krupp Institute of the Greifswald Higher Education Institution. "What we heard this morning was a violation of the law that he accepted, but we need a general rule."

Authorities deny knowledge

Beyond the Shenzhen border, the authorities refrain from Him.

The Shenzhen Health and Family Planning Commission has led the City Medical Expert Committee to investigate its activities.

The University of Southern Science and Technology, where he is an associate professor and is believed to have conducted a study without a university degree, has switched the laboratory and stopped him to investigate. It seems that a web site about genomic research in relation to His work is now unavailable.

The researcher adjusts a microplate containing embryos injected with Cas9 protein and the PCSK9 sgRNS lab in Shenzhen [Mark Schiefelbein/AP]

When Al Jazeera visited a researcher lab located in a widespread campus in the university campus in the northern part of the country, security officers refused to enter, complaining about the media who are trying to visit this site. The Department of Communications's officials at the school does not respond to requests to discuss his research.

A police wagon was placed across the road at the main gate, blue and red light flashes.

The Shenzhen Harmonicare Women's and Children's Hospital, where it is said that fertilization is taking place, is now denied involvement in His work and has said that the signature on the works confirming the experiment was forged. Attempts to reach the officers in the hospital were not successful for further explanation.

"We still do not know if it was made," Qiu said about the documents. "Some scientists, from other motives, these young scientists, they want to earn a lot."


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