Remember the scientist from China who claimed that he made World’s first genetically edited children? The same scientist apologised for results of his experiments being leaked unexpectedly.
The scientist, HE Jiankui, is an associate professor at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China. Jiankui was attending a summit, the Human Genome Editing Summit at the University of Hong Kong, where he addressed to the people about his findings.
In his address, the scientist said, “First, I must apologise that this result was leaked unexpectedly. This study has been submitted to a scientific journal for review. My university was unaware of my study”
The news of gene-edited children came out when his video got viral in which he said he used a gene-editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9 to alter the embryonic genes of twin girls. The girls are born this month.
The scientist is heavily criticised by various bodies, including social organisation, ethical philosophers and his co-scientists. But he defended his move by saying gene editing would help protect the girls from infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
All the scientists of China, the Chinese Govt itself have denounced the experiment of Jiankui saying that editing human gene is unethical and he did his working without any approval in his hospital linked to his research.
A number of Scientists, more than a hundred, wrote an open letter in which they commented that the work done by Jianjui is totally unethical. The letter states, “The use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to edit the genes of human embryos was dangerous and unjustified. Pandora’s box has been opened.” Most of the scientists who wrote the letter hail from China.
What is CRISPR-Cas9
CRISPR-Cas9 is a genome-editing tool that is creating a buzz in the science world. It is faster, cheaper and more accurate than previous techniques of editing DNA and has a wide range of potential applications.
Carrying out gene editing in germline cells is currently illegal in the UK, US and most other countries.