The researcher He Jianku told of his "attempt" – on Youtube. There he claimed he had changed the legacy of a newborn twin couple, Lulu and Nana. With the help of so-called crispr technology, the researcher should have changed the inheritance so that the children become resistant to HIV, that is, the virus that causes AIDS.
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"I understand my work will be questioned, but I think families need this technology. And I'm prepared to get criticism for this," Reuters states. He said in the published video.
Changing the human genome artificially and allowing the changed embryo to evolve into an individual is extremely controversial and prohibited in the vast majority of countries. It has, as far as you know, never happened before.
The criticism of He Jianku's research did not allow us to wait.
"If this is the case, it would be the most irresponsible, unethical and dangerous use of (this) genealogy technology," said Kathy Niakan, an expert at the Francis Crick Institute in London.
The research institute is linked to, The Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, states that the researcher has been on unpaid leave since February and is not expected to return until 2021. The University also claims that the researcher's efforts were not known .
"Southern University of Science and Technology requires scientific research to comply with national laws and regulations, and to respect and adhere to international ethical standards," the university writes in a statement.
Chinese authorities say they have begun an investigation, while the researcher himself seems to have disappeared or have become irreversible.
Prior to that, he contacted the Reuters news agency, for which he stated that he planned to share his research during a scientific forum this week, and that he plans to allow the research to undergo the peer review before the published in a scientific journal.
At the moment, however, nobody knows if He Jianku has really done what he claims to have done. The question marks are still many.
Nils-Eric Sahlin, professor of medical ethics at Lund University, is not very surprised at the news.
– The technology is there and there is an interest in using it. But before using it, the world community must agree that it is safe to use, because today you do not know what the consequences can be. There is a moral aspect in so far as something has been done that these children can live with throughout their lives.
TT: But then it was also the first test tube child?
– Yes, but this requires that you first conduct a thorough ethical analysis and study what the consequences can be. But above all, we all, not just the science community, discuss what values should apply in Sweden. How do we want to do with this technology? As it is today, this is not allowed in Sweden, while the technology has an enormous potential. We have pointed out this long and Smer (National Medical Council) has proposed a parliamentary investigation. We must discuss this – now, says Nils-Eric Sahlin.