A Chinese geneticist discovers another pregnancy that could have been genetically modified
A Chinese scientist who released an ethical storm over his claim has reached the world's first genetically modified child, said on Wednesday he was proud of his work and discovered that another pregnant volunteer could be part of an investigation.
He Jiankui, Associate Professor at SUSTech (University of Science and Technology in South America), Shenzhen, China, spoke before a room of about 700 people attending the Human Genome Summit at the University of Hong Kong.
"In this case, I'm down I'm proud," he said, when several colleagues questioned it at the conference.
Asked if her genetic pregnancy has been edited in her trials, he noted that there was another "probable" pregnancy and answered "yes" to a subsequent question about whether it was a "chemical pregnancy", the term used for natural abortions during the first pregnancy in weeks.
It is unclear whether this pregnancy has ended or not.
"This study was sent to a scientific journal for review," said a scientist. He does not change the magazine and said his university was not aware of his research.
In videos posted online this week, he said he was using a gene-editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9 to change the genes in the embryonic phase of the twin born this month.
He said that genetic editing would help protect girls from HIV infection, the virus that causes AIDS.
However, scholars and the Chinese government have condemned the work that He claims to have done, and the hospital relating to his research indicates that his ethical approval is fake.
Moderator of the conference, Robin Lovell-Badge, said the organizers did not know about the investigation until it was released this week.
CRISPR-Cas9 allows scientists to cut and paste DNA, which is why it is a technology that increases the hope of finding genetic solutions for diseases. However, there are concerns about safety and ethics in its use.
The Chinese Cell Biology Association on Tuesday strongly condemned any use of gene regeneration for human embryonic reproductive purposes and said it was in contradiction with Chinese law and medical ethics.
On Tuesday, over 100 scientists, mainly in China, in an open letter, acknowledged that the use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to edit human embryonic genes is dangerous and unwarranted. "The Pandora's box is open," they said.
A scientist who said he was against gene improvement said that eight pairs were originally enrolled and one of them was rejected. The necessary criterion was that his father was HIV positive and his mother was HIV negative.
He also said that all participants had a "good level of education" and that they and his team had two talks.
The consent given to the right party mentions several risks, but there is little information on the possible complications of the gene-editing process and does not mention that such an experiment has never been done before.