Published: Mon, December 03, 2018
Health Care | By Edgar Pierce

In open letter, scientists in China say baby gene editing 'crazy'

In open letter, scientists in China say baby gene editing 'crazy'

He's research, announced on Monday, drew swift global condemnation, with China's Ministry of Science and Technology investigating whether he had broken the law.

"It's extremely unfair to Chinese scientists who are diligent, innovative and defending the bottom line of scientific ethics", they wrote, adding that "directly experimenting on human is nothing but soon as a living human is produced, no one could predict what kind of impact it will bring, as the modified inheritable substance will inevitably blend into human genome pool".

But he asserted that he had not been overly secretive about his work, saying that he had presented preliminary aspects of it at conferences and consulted with scientists in the U.S. and elsewhere.

David Cyranoski of the journal Nature posted on social media that He was in the southern city and ready to "cooperate fully with all inquiries" about his work.

Lovell-Badge who moderated the Wednesday session, said in an email that "it would have been hard to have sufficient security" for a second talk. China's National Health Commission said He's activities would be investigated and any wrongdoing "resolutely dealt with", according to Xinhua.

Doudna also called his claims, if true, a violation of accepted scientific guidelines around genetic editing.

China isn't going to let research into gene-edited babies go any further. Scientists have long anxious about the implications for humanity of such genetic engineering.

Xu said the authorities will handle the case based on the law and rules after studying it objectively.

Deem was He's adviser at Rice for more than three years and published three papers with He.

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"I personally don't think that it was medically necessary".

A Chinese scientist who has claimed that he helped make the world's first genetically edited babies is under investigation by Chinese officials.

The Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, taking place this week in Hong Kong, was supposed to be a gathering of researchers and medical professionals for the objective of furthering the scientific and ethical standards of genetic modification.

But He took to the stage on Wednesday to justify his work and was bombarded with questions as he told the audience that the parents were aware of the potential dangers when they signed up.

China is one of the first country in the world to invest heavily in gene-editing and with the use of CRISPR-cas9 on humans in 2016.

Jiankui, a professor at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, had edited embryonic genes for seven couples undergoing in-vitro fertilization, using a tool known as CRISPR-cas9, which can insert or deactivate certain genes.He has admitted that he felt proud of this specific work as the intervention resulted in the birth of two seemingly healthy twin girls whose altered DNA had made them resistant to HIV.

When Al Jazeera visited the researcher's lab, situated on a sprawling campus in a hub of universities in the northern part of Shenzhen, security officers refused entry, complaining about media trying to visit the site. He did not respond to a request for comment on his work.

At the main gate, a police van was parked across the road, its blue and red lights flashing.

In an open letter, more than 300 Chinese scientists raised 10 questions for He and his team related to safety, effectiveness and objective of the research, and whether he has concealed other related experiments from the public, China Daily reported.

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