Sunday , October 2 2022

Genetics Summit holds the spirit of Chinese baby editing details


Organizers of a conference that have been reminded of redirected childhood revelations hold the breath on what the controversial researcher in the midst of the "breakthrough" says when taking the stage.

Chinese scientist Han Jiankui is due to speak Wednesday at a summit of biomedical experts in Hong Kong, just days after publishing allegations of creating the world's first genetically modified child.

In a video published on YouTube, university professor said the twin girls, born a few weeks ago, had received their DNA changes to prevent them from getting HIV.

The move – which would be a medical first if it is true – led to an excited debate between science, with many paying attention to the lack of verified data and exposed healthy embryos and children for redecoration.

Organizers of the second International Human Resource Summit, which opened Tuesday, appeared to have also been unconscious about his work.

Biologist and summit chairman David Baltimore told AFP at the conference that he "had no idea (he is) reliable or not."

"I have not seen any of the research and I do not know what he plans to claim," says Baltimore.

Keynote speakers were bullied by the press on the opening day, after the conference highlighted international attention on the back of the children's openings.

John Christodoulou, chairman of genetic medicine at the University of Melbourne, said it seemed that research had "bypassed the usual ethical regulatory processes".

"But what he has done is to edit human embryos, and to be brought to birth … there is a real risk of so-called off-target effects," he added.

"The technology can create mutations or break chromosomes in other areas, except where we hope it is targeted."

Margaret Sleeboom-Faulkner of the University of Sussex told AFP on Tuesday that "it's very wise to make sure this does not happen as a standard".

He, educated at Stanford University and working from a laboratory in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, said the twins DNA was modified using CRISPR, a technique that allows researchers to remove and replace a string of precision.

Reformation is a potential solution for hereditary diseases, but it is extremely controversial since the changes would move on to future generations and possibly affect the entire gene pool.

– "Immediate investigation"

Qiu Renzong, former deputy chairman of the Chinese Ministry of Health Ministry's Ethics Committee, told reporters at the Redovernmental Conference that salmon rules in China mean that scientists who violate the rules are often not subjected to punishment, thinking that the ministry is "without teeth".

Han Jiankui is due to attend a panel discussion Wednesday and talks Thursday to develop moral principles and safety standards in human redevelopment.

However, as skeptical experts raise doubts about the alleged breakthrough, his research also appeared on several other fronts.

China's National Health Commission ordered an "immediate investigation" in the case, reported the official Xinhua news agency, while the Shenzhen hospital believed to have approved the research program denied its commitment.

The university where he works distanced himself and said he had been on unpaid leave since February – and called his claims a "serious violation of academic ethics and norms".

He did not respond to a request for comment from AFP.

The question of editing human DNA is highly controversial, and in many countries it is closely controlled.

But this is not the first time Chinese researchers have experimented with human embryo technology.

In September, researchers at Sun Yat-sen University used a customized version of the redirect to correct a pathogenic mutation in human embryos.

There is also a fight against fraud in China's academic community – including a scandal last year that led to the abolition of 100 academic papers.

A joint statement Monday from a group of 100 researchers in China criticized He Jiankui claims and called them a "big blow to the global reputation and development of biomedical research in China."

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