China orders halt to baby gene-editing activities

China orders halt to baby gene-editing activities

China orders halt to baby gene-editing activities

He Jiankui, a Stanford University alumnus, now working at a laboratory in Shenzhen, made the announcement on Wednesday on the fringes of an global conference in Hong Kong. Many scientists condemned Jiankui's work, calling it unnecessary, given current preventative measures for HIV, smallpox, and cholera, and reckless, as gene-editing can cause off-target effects that are hard to predict and have significant developmental consequences.

The ministry "firmly opposes the baby gene-editing incident and has already demanded that the relevant organization suspend the scientific activities of relevant personnel", a ministry official said, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

However, he added, "I must apologise this result was leaked unexpectedly", He also said of the apparent breakthrough "The clinical trial was paused due to the current situation".

Most scientists in the field, however, have chosen not to jump the gun and begin performing the work on human embryos with the intention of producing modified babies. "We only found out about it after it happened, and after the children were born", Baltimore said on stage.

The presidents of the US National Academy of Sciences and the US National Academy of Medicine said the work "clearly demonstrates the need for us to develop more specific standards and principles that can be agreed upon by the worldwide scientific community". CCR5 was not a high-priority gene to edit, he says, because there are other ways to effectively prevent and treat HIV. According to Jiankui, the goal of his work was to bestow babies with a trait to resist any possible future infection with HIV. Among the concerns are his lack of transparency and questions of whether his patients properly consented.


He said: "This is an example of an approach that was not sufficiently careful and cautious and proportionate". But, he added, there were many other promising therapies for treating HIV, and he didn't think many in the HIV research community were "putting a lot of hope" in genetic editing. At the conference, He failed or refused to answer many questions including who paid for his work, how he ensured that participants understood potential risks and benefits, and why he kept his work secret until after it was done. "I don't think it is credible that it is for a medical need".

Daley, for his part, says he was surprised to hear that He knew about the brain research.

On his website and in a video posted to YouTube, He argues that gene editing is only ethical for the objective of healing. "That should be banned". It said Mr He had been on unpaid leave since February. He was scheduled to speak again at the conference on Thursday, but left Hong Kong and through a spokesman sent a statement saying: "I will remain in China, my home country, and co-operate fully with all inquiries about my work". The school denounced his research for violating "academic ethics and codes of conduct", and the Chinese government is urging local authorities to launch an investigation into He's work.

In the video, Jiankui announced that one of the couples had successfully become pregnant, and had given birth to twin girls earlier this month.

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