China suspends scientists who claim to have produced first gene-edited babies

China suspends scientists who claim to have produced first gene-edited babies

China suspends scientists who claim to have produced first gene-edited babies

Julian Savulescu, for example, has gone so far as to argue that, if it were safe and not too costly, we would even have an obligation to edit our children's genes. "There is another one, another potential pregnancy", he said on stage.

In the future, such technology could be used to eradicate inherited illnesses, but it could also pave the way for "designer babies" engineered to have certain traits like hair colour or intelligence.

The outcome of those investigations remains to be seen, but it is part of a disturbing pattern in reproduction: rogue scientists bucking global norms to engage in ethically and scientifically dubious reproductive research. "Should such epic scientific misadventures proceed, a technology with enormous promise for prevention and treatment of disease will be overshadowed by justifiable public outrage, fear, and disgust".

The use of that embryo suggests that the researchers' "main emphasis was on testing editing rather than avoiding this disease", Church said. Many scientists sharply criticized the news.

Nicholas Evans, a professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, told AFP news agency that He's decision to announce the groundbreaking work on YouTube "is a highly problematic form of scientific practice" that bypasses norms in the community, including peer review.

Summit organizers concluded that He's work was deeply problematic. It said his procedures had a number of flaws, ranging from a poorly-designed study protocol for ensuring transparency to a failure to meet ethical standards to protect the welfare of research subjects. "I don't think the police will be involved, but the ministries will discipline him". And they warned the research had not ruled out potentially harmful unintended effects that could afflict the twins and now spread through the human lineage if they have children. He said he initially paid for the research himself, then later from his university funding.

"It's not unreasonable to expect the scientific community" to follow guidelines, said David Baltimore, a Nobel laureate from California Institute of Technology who led the panel. Others have expressed concern for both the safety of the human gene pool and the recently born infants, female twins, long-term health.

Mr He said: "They need this protection since a vaccine is not available". Also, there is continued wariness of CRISPR because the editing will affect the genes of successive generations.

He said after his presentation on Wednesday he was proud of what he had done. If the Chinese authorities confirm that the babies were born, that would be in violation of current regulations, Xu said.

Facing a packed auditorium of scientists and members of the media, He also acknowledged that he had not made his university in China aware of the research he was doing.

The presidents of the US National Academy of Sciences and the US National Academy of Medicine said the work "clearly demonstrates the need for us to develop more specific standards and principles that can be agreed upon by the worldwide scientific community".

Several scientists said that a ban would be premature, but added that the technology was not ready to be used.

A 23-page English translation of an informed consent form for the potential mother said that the costs of the procedure covered by the team would be up to 280,000 yuan (US$40,200) per couple. "There seems to be need for more clarity".

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