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The American Nobel Communist Craig Melo knew about the babies he edited




(Newser)

Long before the announcement of the world's first world-wide genetic edible babies, Chinese researcher He Jiankui shared the news with a Nobel laureate of the United States who objected to the experiment, but remains an advisor to his biotech company. The revelation that another famous scientist knew about the work that was widely condemned when it was revealed comes when scientists discuss whether and how to warn alarming research and the need for clearer guidance. The emails received from the AP show that Nobel Prize winner Craig Melo of the University of Massachusetts learned about pregnancy last April from He in a message entitled "Good luck!" "I'm glad for you, but I prefer not to be stuck in that," Melo said. "You risk the health of the child you are editing … I just do not see why you do this, I wish the patient good luck for a healthy pregnancy."

Melo remains as a science advisor to the company, "It's Direct Genomics" for eight more months, until December, right after the news of births. Several American researchers knew or strongly suspected that he was trying to edit the embryonic gene, and his disclosure to Mello in April was remarkable because he indicated that the pregnancy had been achieved and came on the day he learned of it. Editing embryos intended for pregnancy is not allowed in the United States and many other places because of the risks and concerns that DNA changes can be passed on to future generations. But there's no way we can stop a deceitful scientist from experimenting because genre editing technology is cheap and easy to use. The University of Minnesota Bioethics says that the lack of action by scientists who have learned about No's intentions shows a wider culture of silence with "many lost opportunities." (More about Jianqui's problems.)

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