"Genetically edited" babies: China is launching a probe

PanARMENIAN.Net - The recent claim by a Chinese researcher, He Jiankui, of being the first to create ‘genetically edited’ babies — twin girls known as ‘Lulu’ and ‘Nana’— is being investigated by the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, Business Insider says.

Jiankui has alleged that the girls had their embryos modified in order to give them an advantage that only a few people are naturally born with — the ability to resist any future infection of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Such a discovery could be revolutionary for the medical community and the world at large. But, many of the organisations involved, including one of the hospitals, are denying involvement in any such endeavor.

Jiankui claims to have used CRISPR gene editing technology at the the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen to modify the DNA during in-vitro fertilization. The university, on the other hand, claims that it knows nothing of any such research project being conducted and will launch its own investigation.

As per their records, Jiankui has been on unpaid leave since February.

The experiment was first reported by the MIT Technology Review and the Associated Press on Sunday. It is yet to be published in any scientific journal and neither has its data been peer-reviewed — common practices to establish the authenticity of any scientific discovery.

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