Uproar ensues on gene-editing of babies
Scientist He Jiankui’s claim to have genetically altered twins against HIV has led to global outrage and prompted calls for an investigation
and Prevention, says: “Genetic editing technology is far from mature and could have unforeseen consequences for the subjects.”
Some researchers are trying to use genetic editing technology to treat people infected with HIV, so the virus will not replicate and be transmitted to others, he says. “Animal experiments should be done to assess gains and risks for the subjects, before the possibility of doing this with humans.”
Some scientists in Hong Kong for the summit said they thought it could induce serious problems for a person’s immune system, while others think people should not be overly scared because it would not affect the core genome.
Tsui Lap-chee, president of the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, says that if one gene is edited, it will affect others that interact with it. And the whole genome, a collection of genes, may also be affected.
Robin Lovell-Badge, head of the Division of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics at the Francis Crick Institute, says “gene editing is not something to be scared about”, and he doesn’t think what He has done will affect a human’s core genome. Side effects may not be very serious, he says, as there are millions of healthy people with the exact same mutation. Contact the writers at wangxi[email protected]nadaily.com.cn