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The world is still not ready for edited babies: scientists

Marilyn Marchione, The Associated Press

Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2019, at noon. 1:21 EST

Hong Kong – A leading team of researchers has said it's still too early to try to make permanent changes to DNA that may be inherited by future generations, according to a Chinese researcher.

This year in Hong Kong this year, an international conference on genetic editing, the ability to rewrite the living code to try to correct or prevent diseases was convened.

Although science is committed to helping those who are already born and initiate research, the tests that were issued on Thursday for the 14 conference leaders say it is irresponsible to try eggs, semen or embryos, with the exception of laboratory studies, because there is not enough known risk or safety.

The conference was shaken by a Chinese researcher's assertion that he helped make the world's first gene-edited children, the two girls whom he said were born at the beginning of this month. The conference leader called for an independent review of the request submitted by ShenZhen He Jiankui, who spoke on Wednesday as an international critic of his claim.

There is no independent confirmation of what he says he did. He was scheduled to speak again at a conference on Thursday, but he left Hong Kong and sent a statement with the representative office saying "I will stay in China, my home country, and fully cooperate with all my work investigations. The data will be made available for third-party reviews."

Several excellent scholars argued that this case showed that the field failed to regulate itself and that more stringent principles or rules were needed.

"It is not unreasonable to hope that the scientific community will follow the guidelines," said David Baltimore, Nobel Prize winner from the California Institute of Technology, who led the commission.

Alta Charo, a Wisconsin University lawyer and bioethics specialist and conference organizer, already has some rules that would have prevented what he says he did, said Alta Charo.

"I think the failure was his, not the scientific circle," Charo said.

In the future, genetic editing for reproductive purposes will be considered, "but only when medical needs are needed," with a clear picture of the risks and benefits and some other conditions, said Dr Victor Jau, President of the National Medical Academy. one of the conference sponsors.

"Failure to follow these guidelines would be an irresponsible act," he added.

Other three-day conference sponsors are the Hong Kong Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of the United Kingdom and the US National Academy of Sciences and the US National Academic Science.

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