Saturday , October 1 2022

The scientist who put the child in the trap of his own ethical policy


I said "do not steal," when scientists first used Crisp to edit DNA in non-viable human embryos. When they tried it in embryos that could theoretically produce babies, I said, "do not panic." Many years and years of dull science remain before anyone else think about getting closer to a woman's uterus. Well, we'd be wrong. Permission to push the panic button tuned.

On Monday night on Sunday, a Chinese researcher stunned the world, pretending to have created the first human children, a set of twins, with DNA edited by Crispre. "Two beautiful Chinese girls, Lulu and Nana, began crying in the world as healthy as any other children a few weeks ago," said scientist He Jiankiu in the first of five promotional videos posted on YouTube hours after MIT Technology Review broke the news.


WIRED Guide to Crispr

Lulu and Nana were reported to have a genetic mutation, courtesy of Crispr, which makes it harder for HIV to invade and infect white blood cells. The claim, which has not yet been verified independently or supported by published data, has triggered angry criticism, international revolt and multiple investigations. The scientific protest was so rapid because He assumed a secretly bulldozed work following the existing ethical guidelines on so-called "germline editing," in which changes to the DNA of an embryo will be passed on to generations next.

What may be strange is not the fact that He ignored the global recommendations to conduct a Crisp research in humans. He also ignored his own guidance on the guidelines of the world that were published within hours after his sin became public.

On Monday, he and his colleagues at the University of Southern Science and Technology in Shenzhen published a set of ethical principles to "refine, guide and restrict clinical applications that communities around the world can share and locate on the basis of beliefs and public health challenges. "These principles include transparency and conduct of the procedure only when the risks are outdated by serious medical needs.

The song appeared in The Crisp Journal, a young publication dedicated to Crispr's research, commentary and debate. Rodolphe Barrangou, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, in which the peer-reviewed perspective appeared, states that the article was one of two that he had recently published referring to the ethical concerns of germline line-up, and the other by a bioethicist from University of North Carolina. Both authors have asked their writing to come out ahead of a major gene summit that takes place this week in Hong Kong. When half of the rumors about his hidden work came to Barrangou at the weekend, his team talked about pulling the paper, but eventually decided that there was nothing solid to discredit him, based on the information available at the time.

Now Barrangou and his team rethink this decision. First, He did not reveal any conflict of interest, which is a standard practice in respectable magazines. It has since become clear that not only He is the head of many Chinese genetics companies but has actively pursued the controversial research of people long before writing a scientific and moral code to guide him. "We now appreciate whether the omission was a matter of ill-treatment or maltreatment," Barrangou said, adding that the magazine is now conducting an audit to see if the withdrawal could be justified. "It is misleading for the authors to present an ethical framework in which to work on the one hand and then do something that directly contradicts at least two of the five declared principles."

One is transparency. Reporting by Technical review and The Associated Press raised questions if he misled the participants in the process and the Chinese regulators in his ambitions to make the first child Crispr. Two is medical necessity.

Take the gene that the Group chose to edit: CCR5. It encodes a receptor that HIV uses to infiltrate white blood cells as a key to a locked door. There is no key, no access. Other first controversial Crisps have attempted to correct defective versions of genes responsible for inherited, often incurable disorders, returning to the healthy version. Unlike him, He was hurt by the group normal copies of CCR5 to reduce the risk of future possible HIV infection-a disease that is easily prevented, treated and controlled by means that do not involve the permanent change of one's DNA. Drugs, condoms, syringe exchange programs are all reasonable alternatives.

"There are all sorts of questions that raise these issues, but the most important is the risk / benefit ratio for infants who will be born," says Hank Greely, Stanford University Ethics. "And the risk-benefit ratio on this thing smells. Any institutional assessment council that approved it should be dissolved if it's not closed."

Reporting by State indicates that he may have just gotten over his head and tried to create a self-guided ethical education in a few short months. The young scientist indicates he is only 34 years old – he has a history in biophysics, with studios in the United States at Rice University, and Stephen Quake bioengineer at Stanford. His CV is not read as someone deep in the nuances and ethics of human research. Barrangou says it has happened in many editing rounds that his frame has gone through. "The editorial team spent a significant amount of time improving both language and content," he says.

It's too soon to say if the stuntman will bring fame or just infamy. He is still scheduled to speak at the human genome editing summit on Wednesday and Thursday. And China's central government in Beijing has not yet fallen one way or the other. The condemnation would make him a rogue and a scientific deceiver. Anything else opens the door for an invincible IVF Crisp industry to appear in China and potentially elsewhere. "It's hard to imagine that this was the only group in the world to do this," says Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell scientist at UC Davis, who wrote a book on the future of designer children Sapiens GMOs. "Some might say it broke the ice, others will go ahead and make their results public, or stop what they do and see how this is done?"

What happens next makes the difference. The fact that two children now have a gene changed by Crispr in an unusual form does not change the world overnight. What the world is changing is how society reacts and whether it decides to allow DNA modification procedures to become common.

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