Monday , June 27 2022

Chinese scientists say they made twins genetically engineered using CRISPR technology


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/ Source: Associated Press

Of Marilynn Marchione, The Associated Press

HONG KONG – A Chinese researcher claims to have helped make the world's first genetically-engineered twins that were born this month, whose DNA said he was modified with a new powerful tool rewrite the plan of life.

If that were true, it would be a profound leap of science and ethics.

A scientist from the U.S. said she had participated in Chinese activity, but this kind of gene editing is banned in the United States because DNA changes can move to future generations and risk damaging other genes.

Many ordinary scientists believe it is too uncertain to try and some have denounced the Chinese report as human experimentation.

An embryo receives a small dose of Cas9 protein and sgARN PCSK9 in a sperm injection microscope in a Shenzhen lab in Guangdong province in southern China on October 9, 2018.Mark Schiefelbein / AP

The researcher, El Jiankui of Shenzhen, said he had modified the seven-coupled embryos during fertility treatments with a pregnancy that has been achieved so far. He said his goal is not to cure or prevent an inherited disease but to try to give a feature that few people naturally have: the ability to withstand future HIV infection, the AIDS virus .

He said the involved parents refused to be identified or interviewed, and he would not say where they lived or where the work was done.

There is no independent confirmation of his claim and was not published in a journal, where he would have been checked by other experts. He revealed on Monday in Hong Kong to one of the organizers of an international genetics conference that is due to start Tuesday and earlier in exclusive interviews with The Associated Press.

"I feel a strong responsibility that it's not just making a premium, but also making it an example," he said. "Society will decide what to do next" in allowing or prohibiting such sciences.

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