China ordered an investigation Monday after the publication of a Chinese researcher who said he had an in vitro fertilization with a modified genome that gave birth to twins resistant to AIDS, the experiment is considered "dangerous" and "irresponsible".
Jiankui, a professor at Shenzhen University in southern China, released a video on YouTube, saying he was born a couple of weeks ago two twins whose DNA was modified to be resistant to AIDS. He specified that the father is HIV positive.
After Chinese scientists and institutions received this message with numerous criticisms, the National Health Commission u China ordered a "direct investigation" in this case, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
An explorer, dressed at Stanford University in the United States and who runs a specialized laboratory in the Shenzhen genome, explained that he used the Crispr-Cas9 technique, called "genetic scissors," which allows the removal and replacement of unwanted genome parts by repairing a computer error .
Babies called Lula & # 39; and "Nana" were born in vitro by fertilizing modified embryos before being implanted in the mother's womb. "Immediately after injecting male sperm into the egg, The embryologist injected the Crispr-Cas9 protein that was responsible for gene modification to protect girls from future HIV infections"Jiankui explained.
Bring out such claims, obviously deliberately seeking maximum controversy. It's irresponsible
DNA modification genetically can help in the prevention of disease, but this practice is problematic because genetic modifications will succeed the next generation and can include a new form of eugenics.
MIT Technology Review recalled that "Technology has ethical responsibility." The announcement of this medical experiment took place on the eve of the Hong Kong World Genome Experts Conference, during which a Chinese researcher had to present his results in more detail.
However, after receiving the criticism, his intervention at this genetic congress is not guaranteed. This self-proclaimed medical experiment was not independently confirmed. The Chinese team did not publish the results in the scientific journal.
"Very problematic" practice
After publication, a large number of Chinese scientists and institutions criticized this experiment. The university in which he worked on reports that he had stopped receiving his salary since February, and considered that reconstitution with a modified genome constituted "a violation of the ethical criteria of the academy and its norms". "This research was conducted outside the university framework"the South-South Science and Technology Institute announced on Monday.
A hundred Chinese scientists have published a joint statement criticizing the experiment and calling for changes in legislation on in vitro fertilization. This medical experimentation has been known for some time, but no scientist has dared to use it because "no one can predict the uncertain impact of these genetic modifications," criticizes this group of scientists who believe that it has opened "Pandora's Box".
Also, International researchers have criticized the publication as a video clip on YouTube. "The announcement of these results in a video on YouTube is a very problematic scientific practice," said Nicholas Evans, professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell in the United States, working on bioethical issues.
"This shifts the controls on which many scientific advances are based, such as peer evaluation," AFP added. Regardless of whether it is announced or not, this issue raises "serious ethical problems," says Sarah Chan, of the University of Edinburgh, quoted Science Center for the Media.
"The expression of such claims is obviously deliberately seeking maximum controversy (…) is irresponsible"He added that He Jianqui did not immediately answer AFP questions.