Genome Summit Organisers Slam Chinese Scientist's Gene-Editing Baby Claim

Genome Summit Organisers Slam Chinese Scientist's Gene-Editing Baby Claim

"This leaked unexpectedly, taking away from the community before presenting in a scientific venue and without the peer review process engaged before this conference", Jiankui said while speaking at an global conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

A Chinese scientist who claims to have created the world's first genetically edited babies has defended his work.

"I must apologize, this result was leaked unexpectedly", He Jiankui told a Hong Kong medical conference on Wednesday, as cited by AFP.

Genetic editing has the potential to remove inherited diseases from the gene pool, but scientists and ethicists worry it could be used to create so-called "designer babies". Still, that practice is surrounded by intense ethical debate, questions on the regulation of safety and is governed by laws in some countries; in the United Kingdom, it is illegal to gene edit human embryos over 14 days old.

The moves comes after Chinese scientist He Jiankui announced Monday that two ostensibly healthy twin girls had been born this month from embryos altered to make them resistant to HIV.

Organisers of the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing denounced He's "unexpected and deeply disturbing" claim that human embryos had been edited and implanted, and called for closer supervision of the field at the conclusion of the conference on Thursday.

Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, where He Jiankui works, has also distanced itself from Jiankui's research.

"I don't think it has been a transparent process".

More news: Google Fi Replaces Project Fi, Adds Support for iPhone

Summit chair David Baltimore, a Nobel laureate, said there had been "a failure of self-regulation by the scientific community because of a lack of transparency".

The Shenzen scientist who had trained as a researcher in the U.S. added that seven embryos were altered with powerful tools, resulting in the birth of twin sisters with modified DNA.

On Thursday, China's science ministry said it had "demanded that the relevant organisation suspend the scientific activities of relevant personnel". Ltd. - one of the companies He runs - refused to say if they were aware of the project, but told Caixin the experiment was not conducted on their premises.

He's experiment "crossed the line of morality and ethics adhered to by the academic community and was shocking and unacceptable", Xu said. Scientists can do gene editing research on discarded IVF embryos, as long as they are destroyed immediately afterwards and not used to make a baby.

China's National Health Commission has also ordered an investigation.

He said after his presentation on Wednesday he was proud of what he had done.

He, who said he was against gene enhancement, said eight couples were initially enrolled for his study while one dropped out.

More than 100 scientists, most in China, said in an open letter on Tuesday the use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to edit the genes of human embryos was unsafe and unjustified.

Related Articles