First genetically edited human babies reportedly born

  • #1
Ygggdrasil
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HONG KONG (AP) — A Chinese researcher claims that he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies — twin girls whose DNA he said he altered with a powerful new tool capable of rewriting the very blueprint of life.

[...]

The researcher, He Jiankui of Shenzhen, said he altered embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting thus far. He said his goal was not to cure or prevent an inherited disease, but to try to bestow a trait that few people naturally have — an ability to resist possible future infection with HIV, the AIDS virus.

He said the parents involved declined to be identified or interviewed, and he would not say where they live or where the work was done.

There is no independent confirmation of He’s claim, and it has not been published in a journal, where it would be vetted by other experts. He revealed it Monday in Hong Kong to one of the organizers of an international conference on gene editing that is set to begin Tuesday, and earlier in exclusive interviews with The Associated Press.
https://apnews.com/4997bb7aa36c45449b488e19ac83e86d

As detailed in the AP news story, most scientists believe the work to be unethical as the safety of the CRISPR gene editing technique used has not yet been fully established.

See also: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/...chnologies-wont-lead-designer-babies/']crispr-babies/[/URL]

For more information about the CRISPR gene editing technique, see the following PF Insights article: https://www.physicsforums.com/insig...chnologies-wont-lead-designer-babies/']crispr-new-gene-editing-technologies-wont-lead-designer-babies/[/URL]

For other discussions of human genetic engineering on PF see:
https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/first-human-embryos-edited-in-u-s.921238/
https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...chnologies-wont-lead-designer-babies/']crispr.949415/[/URL]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #3
BillTre
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No responses in 4 days; this at least deserves an emphatic "Wow!"
Nothing about this surprises me.
 
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  • #5
BillTre
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https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/01/sunday-review/https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/dont-fear-crispr-new-gene-editing-technologies-wont-lead-designer-babies/-china-babies-gene-editing.html?em_pos=medium&emc=edit_sc_20181204&nl=science-times&nl_art=21&nlid=38810697emc%3Dedit_sc_20181204&ref=headline&te=1 about another kind of transgenic humans, those that have received what amounts to mitochondrial transplants, which replaces the mother's mitochondria (carrying a deleterious mutation in a mitochondrial genome encoded gene).
This results in a fertilized zygote with three parents genetically speaking: the mother's nuclear genome, the father's nuclear genome, and the mitochondrial genome derived from a third party.

Apparently, people from these origins, have been born and Walk Among Us!
 
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  • #6
Paul C
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There's so little to be gained by doing what the Chinese team did, I wonder if those embryos were planted in the womb of an HIV+ woman. That, fundamentally, makes sense beyond a "proof of concept" or benign genomic alteration.
 
  • #7
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There's so little to be gained by doing what the Chinese team did, I wonder if those embryos were planted in the womb of an HIV+ woman. That, fundamentally, makes sense beyond a "proof of concept" or benign genomic alteration.
On the contary, human experimentation is the highest form of demonstration available in bio-medicine.

Given 20 years followup or more of such a cohort without any huge side-effects, would probably highly accelerate the process from in vitro to in vivo studies, eventually even leading to similar cohorts and or even larger studies such as GWAS and/or RCT.

It goes without saying that for the time being, ethically the cons clearly outweigh the pros to create such a cohort, which is why a techniquesuch as CRISPR/Cas has to go through all the regular hoops before reaching the stage of clinical research; once such a cohort exists however, close followup is practically a necessity.
 
  • #8
BillTre
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crispr-twins-sharply-criticized-government-probe-loses-job?utm_campaign=news_daily_2019-01-21&et_rid=295682744&et_cid=2612200']Here[/URL] is an update on this story form Science magazine.
The Chinese government has looked into this and says:
deliberately sidestepped regulations, dodged oversight, and used fake ethical review documents in hopes of gaining "personal fame" for a worldwide first
He (proper noun, not pronoun) is losing his job at a university and losing his opportunities to do teaching and research.
 
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  • #9
BillTre
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Another update this time from the https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/23/health/gene-editing-babies-https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/dont-fear-crispr-new-gene-editing-technologies-wont-lead-designer-babies/.html?emc=edit_th_190124&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=388106970124.
Turns out the He had discussed his research with several other researchers (mostly in the US).
Most tried to dissuade him, several thought they had.
None seemed to have known how what further they could do about it, if they were so inclined.
The article also discusses issues about what to do going forward; research moratoriums, blocking publication, who/where to notify about potential upcoming problems, etc.
Its a good article with a fair amount of details.
 

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