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A Chinese scientist who is studying genetically modified babies at the university in which he works



Scientist Chinese He Jiankui He said on Monday that he had an in vitro fertilization with a modified genome that led to twins that are resistant to HIV, which led to his suspension from a university where he works and ethical criticism for an act that is considered "dangerous" and "irresponsible".

An explorer, dressed at Stanford University in the United States and running a specialized laboratory in the Shenzhen genome, explained that he used the technique Crispr-Cas9, called "genetic scissors", which allows the removal and replacement of unwanted parts of the genome, because the error is corrected in the computer.

Babies, called Lula and Nana, were born in vitro by modifying embryos before they were implanted in the mother's womb.

Genetically modify a DNA it can serve to avoid disease, but this practice is problematic because genetic modifications will succeed the next generation.

The South University of Science and Technology (SUST) from the University of Shenzhen has already announced that he has been suspended He Jiankui and will question whether her experiment was against ethical and academic regulations, according to the words MIT Technology Review.

The university reported that he had stopped receiving his salary since February and thought that fertilization with a modified genome was "a violation of the ethical criteria of the academy and its rules."

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" experiment

After publication, a large number of Chinese scientists and institutions criticized this experiment. A hundred of his Chinese colleagues published a joint statement in which they criticized the experiment and asked to amend the law on in vitro fertilization.

In addition, international researchers have criticized that the publication was posted through videos 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 is moving away from the control processes on which there are numerous scientific advances, such as peer evaluation," he added, AFP.

Regardless of whether it is announced or not, this issue raises "serious ethical issues", says Sarah Chan, of the company University of Edinburgh, the Center for Scientific Media quoted him as saying.

"The realization of such claims, obviously intentionally to seek maximum controversy (…) is irresponsible," he added.

Jiankui did not immediately answer the questions AFP.

With AFP information


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