China Stops Controversial Human Gene-Editing Program

Pablo Tucker
December 1, 2018

Both cause tremendous suffering, are hard to treat effectively, and in rare cases are certain to be passed to any biological children, says Harvard Medical School Dean George Daley, a stem cell scientist. Prof. He said that the babies born were "normal and healthy" and would be monitored for the next 18 years.

Regarding news related to the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing and the genetically-edited infants, please strictly use standard draft sources.

"Gene editing itself is experimental and is still associated with off-target mutations, capable of causing genetic problems early and later in life, including the development of cancer", he told the BBC. "I personally don't think it was medically necessary".


The founder of an HIV support group reported to be based in Beijing said Thursday that he regretted introducing families to He for the trial, according to local media.

Many scholars spoke against the research, saying it violated ethical norms and was unnecessary because couples where the male is HIV-positive can have virus-free children through the application of existing medical technology. "He, I can only conclude that this was misguided, premature, unnecessary and largely useless", said R. Alta Charo, a bioethicist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Couples decided whether to edit or unedit embryos for pregnancy attempts, 16 of 22 embryos were edited with 11 embryos being used in 6 implant attempts before the twin pregnancy was achieved. "If you had involved the Chinese authorities, they might have said you can't do it".

In its statement, the committee said gene editing "remains irresponsible at this time" since it could produce harmful unintended effects for the individuals born from such embryos, as well as their offspring. Other scientists have said the procedure was unnecessary and risky. Silva said via e-mail that deleting both copies of the gene showed greater benefit, but even "one copy alone is sufficient to see enhancements in certain forms of memory". Although he still hasn't published any real evidence, scientists across the world were quick to condemn the ethically dubious claims, describing the experiment as "deeply concerning", "shocking", and "monstrous".


"The clinical trial was paused due to the current situation", he said.

When asked by Robin Lovell-Badge, a professor of genetics and embryology at the Francis Crick Institute in London, whether by early stage He meant a "chemical pregnancy" or early miscarriage, He said "yes". "I can't know his motives, I just think it's curious that he knew about the paper". He added that, despite the controversies, gene surgery should "remain a technology for healing".

A medical team's quest to edit the genes of babies has been stopped by the Chinese government. In the video, He declined further comment until presenting his findings to a bustling auditorium filled with journalists and camera crews at a Hong Kong scientific conference on Wednesday, after fallout and global outrage over what some have called a "designer baby" experiment.


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.

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