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Experts condemn the science behind gene editing disgusting Chinese scholar He Jiankui of unborn twins



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Controversial scientist Jiankui He was condemned by scientists who say that his work editing the genes of unborn twin girls was not a necessity, defective and posing unnecessary risks to infants.

Researchers Haoyi Wang and Yan Hui, both well-known experts in the field of gene editing, were part of the thought in a reputable scientific journal PLoS One comprehensive dismantling of science for his work.

They say that his procedure is not only morally reprehensible, and goes far beyond any ethical consideration, but also the fact that his scientific method was weak and took unnecessary risks.

They claim to a piece of that "gene-editing of the early embryo is not an advantage for children, while creating a potentially serious & # 39; serious risks on several fronts.

Disgraced researchers used gene editing CRISPR-cas9 technology change embryonic genes twin girls named "Lulu" and "Nano".

study, Dr. Hae ~ d for the experiment to give the resistance of HIV to the fetus in order to avoid infections from his father, who & # 39 is HIV-positive.

Since then, he was dismissed from the university office and is under investigation by the Chinese authorities.

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Jiankui he said during an interview with & # 39; nd in the laboratory in Shenzhen in Guangdong Province in southern China. China claims a scientist, he helped to make the world's first genetically edited children: two girls, whose DNA he claims to have changed

Jiankui he said during an interview with & # 39; nd in the laboratory in Shenzhen in Guangdong Province in southern China. China claims a scientist, he helped to make the world's first genetically edited children: two girls, whose DNA he claims to have changed

Experts say that the work of Dr. Ho was essentially error – starting with the fact that, in the editing of the gene have been unnecessarily.

Dr. Wang and Dr. Jan formulate infection can be avoided at the time of conception, using the already well-established technology with the assistance of reproduction.

In addition, the infection could have been avoided after the birth, just avoid any potential risks associated with exposure to HIV.

This, they say, "enough for most people.

Dr Gene He edited called CCR5, and it is involved in the regulation of the immune system.

Although mutations in the nature of CCR5, were associated with higher levels of resistance to infection especially in European populations, they do not block all strains of HIV.

He tried to turn off a gene called of CCR5, a protein that forms a doorway that allows HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, enters the cell.

All the men in the project was HIV and all women do, but editing the gene was not aimed at preventing a small risk of transmission, Dr. He said.

Dr. He also did not provide a long-term plan to monitor two children in order to assess the indirect impact procedures, they say.

Behavior Dr. He and his colleagues, the researchers conclude, "it constitutes a gross violation of both Chinese law and the consensus reached by the international scientific community.

"We strongly condemn their actions are very irresponsible, both scientifically and from an ethical point of view," they added.

Scientist caused global controversy in November when he announced in a YouTube video he made.

Scientific world and the general public were amazed when the doctor Jiankui He released a video on YouTube claims to have created a gene is edited twins man.

Academics condemned his unethical and closed its procedure, intention and quirky approach to morality.

The government has stopped work in his laboratory and conduct an investigation, saying it would be considered "zero-tolerance in the fight against obscenity" in research.

In the period from March 2017 to November 2018, he forged the ethical review and scored eight pairs to take part in his experiment, after two pregnancies.

Graphic shows how, in theory, the embryo can be "edited" by using the powerful tool CRISPR-cas9, to protect people from HIV infection

Graphic shows how, in theory, the embryo can be "edited" by using the powerful tool CRISPR-cas9, to protect people from HIV infection

Five other does not fertilize while one decided to leave the experiment.

It is believed that he is under constant surveillance by armed guards following threats of death and the inevitable trials.

Punishment for his action is likely to be very difficult, and some of them believe that it can lead to death.

William Nee, China Researcher, Amnesty International, said: "China executes more people than any other country in the world and the system of capital punishment in the country is shrouded in mystery.

"Suspects often do not have access to lawyers during the key stages of the judicial process and the use of torture to forced confessions are full.

"In the highly politicized court cases, often just a spectacle with the result already decided.

South University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in the city of Shenzhen, said in a statement on his website that he was fired.

AS HE DR describe the work?

"Editing gene occurred during IVF, fertilization or lab dishes.

"Firstly, the sperm" washed "in order to separate it from the sperm fluid, where HIV can LURK.

"One sperm was placed into an egg to create an embryo.

"Then there was added a tool to edit gene.

"If the embryos have been three to five days, a few cells were removed and checked for editing.

"Couples can choose whether to use the edited or unedited embryos to attempt pregnancy.

"Overall, 16 out of 22 embryos were edited, and 11 embryos were used in six attempts implants before the twin pregnancy has been achieved.

"Urgent, SUSTech will terminate the employment contract with Dr. Jiankui He and discontinue any of its teaching and research activities in SUSTech, it said in a statement, adding that the decision was taken after a preliminary investigation of the investigation of the Task Force of Guangdong Province.

Dr. He was trained as a physicist, not a biologist, so unskilled and probably unable to perform self study.

It is believed that he used his own £ 40 million to fund the project and the state in private employment of highly qualified scientific experts to conduct research.

Little is known about the research that scientists in the chess order for his blatant flaunting every rule and guidelines on ethics and legality in the field of genetics.

Location Chinese researcher has been a mystery since November. Reports claimed that he had been placed under effective house arrest in Shenzhen after the adoption of a & # 39 appearance at the Second International Summit on locality Editing Genome in Hong Kong at the end of November.

He and his family & # 39; I live in university housing in the South University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, with a guard stationed outside her apartment, according to Bloomberg recent report referring to Dr. William Hurlbut, from the & # 39; yunkt -prafesar at Stanford Medical School, who was due to Chinese scientists.

He told me that in his situation in life and in the course of the investigation, he was treated with respect, "Dr. Hurlbut, a neuroscientist whose doctor he consulted for the last two years of his genetic research, told reporters.

Two children, LuLu and Nana, born in October, it is considered potentially dangerous changes in their genome can then be passed on to future generations, research field is still in its infancy, and is widely known.

He is a controversial work that earned him the nickname "Chinese Frankenstein" was condemned by the medical community and the Chinese health workers who said they do not know anything experiment.

Gene editing is prohibited in the United Kingdom, the United States many other parts of the world, the researchers said that if Dr. Ho ~ d the claims are true, then the "monstrous" experiment "is not morally or ethically justified.

There is no independent confirmation of the claims of Dr. Ho, and it was not published in a journal, where it will be inspected by other experts.

This "shameless … experiment on people, which is not a & # 39 is morally or ethically justified," said Dr. Kiran Musunuru, University of Pennsylvania gene editing expert and editor of the journal Genetics.

"It's too early," said Dr. Eric Topol, who heads the Scripps Translational Institute in California. "We are dealing with human instruction manual. This is a big deal.

"If this is true, this monstrous experiment, said Professor Julian Savulescu, of Oxford University, Director Uehiro Center for Practical Ethics.

"These healthy children are used as guinea pigs genetic. This is a genetic Russian roulette. "

In recent years, scientists have found a relatively simple way to change the genes, DNA strands governing body.

Doubts that consists of claims DR it?

Some scientists have considered the materials that Dr. he applied to the access point, and these tests are still not enough to say that the editing work or to eliminate damage.

They also noted evidence that the editing was incomplete and that at least one twin seems to be patchwork cells with various changes.

"It's almost like any editing at all," if only some of the specific cells were changed, because HIV infection can still occur, said a well-known geneticist at Harvard University professor George Church.

Church and Dr. Kiran Musunuru, University of Pennsylvania expert editing of the gene, called into question the decision will allow one of the embryos to be used in an attempt to pregnancy, because Chinese researchers said that they knew in advance that both copies of the intended gene has not been changed.

"This child, did not really have almost nothing to be achieved in terms of protection against HIV, and while you're exposing that baby is unknown security risks," said Dr. Musunuru.

The use of this embryo suggests that the researchers' main focus was on testing editing, rather than to avoid the disease, Church said.

Even if editing is working fine, people without the normal CCR5 genes are at a higher risk of getting certain other viruses such as West Nile, and death from influenza.

Since there are many ways to prevent HIV infection, and it is very treatable if it occurs, these other health risks & # 39 are a problem, said Dr. Musunuru.

There are also questions about the way Dr He said he continued.

He gave official notice of his work long after he said he started it – 8 November, the Chinese registry of clinical trials.

It is unclear whether the participants fully understand the purpose and the potential risks and benefits.

For example, the consent form is called the program "Development of a vaccine against AIDS" project.

Hospital linked to the controversial project denied the order approval and accused Dr Ho forgery.

The tool, called CRISPR-cas9, allows DNA to give the desired gene or disable the one that causes the problem.

It is only recently tried in adults for the treatment of deadly diseases, with all edits confined to that person, that is, they can not be transferred to their children.

Editing sperm, eggs or embryos are different – changes can be inherited.

In the US it is not allowed for laboratory tests, with the exception of. China bans human cloning, but does not edit the specific gene.

Dr. He Jiankui, which is «JK," studied Rice and Stanford universities in the United States, before returning home to open a laboratory in the South University of Science and Technology of China in Shenzhen, where it also has two genetic company.

Dr. He said that he decided to try editing embryo genes for HIV, because these infections with & # 39 are a big problem in China.

Their fathers were deeply suppressed infection with standard drugs against HIV and there are simple ways to keep them from infecting the children that do not involve changes in genes.

Instead, the reference was to offer couples who are affected by HIV a chance to have a child, which can be protected from a similar fate.

Dr. He has hired the pair through the Beijing-based advocacy group called AIDS Baihualin.

Haoyi Wang and Yang Hui full comments were published in the journal PLOS Biology.

WHAT CRISPR-cas9?

CRISPR-cas9 with & # 39 is a tool for creating precise changes to DNA found in bacteria.

The acronym stands for «Clustered Regularly spaced Inter palindromic again."

The method includes cutting the DNA enzyme and a small tag, which said enzyme, wherein cut.

CRISPR / cas9 method uses a tag that identifies the location of the mutation as well as an enzyme that acts like a tiny scissors to cut DNA at a precise location, allowing small amounts of the gene to be deleted

CRISPR / cas9 method uses a tag that identifies the location of the mutation as well as an enzyme that acts like a tiny scissors to cut DNA at a precise location, allowing small amounts of the gene to be deleted

By changing this tag, scientists may be administered the enzyme in specific areas of DNA and make accurate cuts, wherever they want.

It has been used for gene "silence" – effectively switching them.

If the cellular DNA repair machinery rupture, he removes a small incision DNA.

Thus, researchers can accurately turn off certain genes in the genome.

The approach has been used previously to modify HBB gene responsible for a condition called β-thalassemia.

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