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He Jiankui, a Chinese scientist who helped create the first babies edited with a gene with CRISPR, fired from the university today



The Chinese authorities seem to have confirmed the unpublished statement of a scientist that he has helped make the first babies in the world and that the second pregnancy is underway . Now that the scientist has been fired from the university, he is contracted to work and can be blamed. norms because he wanted to be known. The report says that he acted alone and will be punished for violations of the law, although he has not indicated which provisions he has violated.

Since then, he has been fired from China's Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen. (SUSTech). "Effectively, SUSTech will abolish the contract for work with Dr. Jiankui He and terminate one of his teaching and research activities in SUSTech," according to the school statement.

The scientist stunned the world in November, claiming he changed the DNA of twin girls during conception to try to help them resist infection with the AIDS virus. His work has been widely criticized as unethical by the question of whether the participants really understood the risks. He is also considered medically dangerous because of possible damage to other genes and DNA changes can be passed on to future generations.

  Scientist He Jiankui attended the International Human Genome Editing Summit at the University of Hong Kong
at the International Summit for Human Genome Editing at the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China, at 28 November 2018

Reuters


There was no independent verification of his statement, which was first reported by the Associated Press, and has not yet been published, although he gave details at an international conference on editing a gene in Hong Kong. Some even suggested that this might be a scam.

But the Chinese investigation seems to confirm this. The Xinhua report states that twins and participants in the second pregnancy will remain under medical surveillance with regular visits under the supervision of government health services. "It seems that they have confirmed the existence of babies," said Dr. Kiran Mussunduu, editor of a Genealogy Journal at the University of Pennsylvania, who examined the materials he had provided at the AP's request. Given that the Chinese investigation suggests that ethical flaws, its work may not be published by a scientific journal, but "information must be provided to know exactly what has been done," Mussundu said. "It can be as simple as putting it on the net."

The scientist, He, could not be found for comment. A media contact person acting as a spokesman for He declined to comment. It is unclear how many embryos that have been edited remain of His experiment and what will happen to them.

Editing genes for reproductive purposes is effectively banned in the United States and most of Europe. In China, ministerial instructions prohibit the research of embryos that "violate ethical or moral principles".

"This behavior seriously violates the ethics and integrity of scientific research, is in serious breach of the relevant national regulations and creates a detrimental influence at home and abroad."

He uses gene-editing technology known as CRISPR (Repeat from Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), Reuters reported that he had gathered money and organized a private team of people to perform the procedure to "seek personal glory and profit," according to Xinhua, adding , that he has prepared ethical documents

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The statement shows that "scientific leadership takes this situation seriously, said Ata Chara, a bio-scientist at the University of Wisconsin and one of the leaders at the Hong Kong conference. "It is difficult to interpret without knowing who was involved in the investigation and what they did, but" shows that there is a system of regulatory control in China, which can be applied at every effort to premature use not the technology "that can

Stanford bioethicist Dr. William Harlbut said he spoke regularly with He conference in Hong Kong last week. Hurlbut, who said he did not approve of what he did, often met with him over the past two years to discuss the editing of the genes and when it might be appropriate.

One week after the news broke from his work, "he was calm." "He was thinking about what he had to do in another way," said Hurlbutt.

The Hearl said that he said it was good that he treats you with respect. the investigation … they asked him willingly to give them the material, and he did it.

In the university building where he lives, there are security guards in ordinary clothes because "He and the authorities thought it was a good idea […] to protect him from the media and others who were trying to contact him, not because he was treated as a prisoner, said the Hearl.

A researcher who says that babies who have edited a gene are being defended against a backdrop of indignation



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