Chinese scientist defends his gene editing work

November 28, 2018

A Chinese scientist who is said to have created the world’s first genetically edited babies is standing by his work.

He Jiankui, an associate professor at a Shenzhen university, said he was proud of his work, and another potential pregnancy of a gene-edited embryo was in its early stages.

His claims have yet to be independently verified, but has already sparked outrage.

Professor He’s university, the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, said it was unaware of the research project and would launch an investigation.

Prof He said had altered the DNA of embryos twin girls, to prevent them from contracting HIV.His claims were widely criticised by other scientists, who called the idea monstrous. Such work is banned in most countries.

He revealed that the twin girls – known as “Lulu” and “Nana” – were born normal and healthy, adding that there were plans to monitor the twins over the next 18 years.

He explained that eight couples, comprised of HIV-positive fathers and HIV-negative mothers, had signed up voluntarily for the experiment; one couple later dropped out.

The experiment was also initially funded by himself.

Prof He also said that the study had been submitted to a scientific journal for review, though he did not name the journal.




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