Criticism after Chinese scientist claims world’s first gene-edited babies

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The organising committee of the second International Summit on Human Genome Editing have called Chinese scientist He Jiankui ‘s claims of creating the first gene-edited twin babies as “unexpected and deeply disturbing” and “irresponsible” on Thursday.

The Chinese scientist sent shockwaves with his claims, where he stated that he had modified the embryos of the new-born twins to create the world’s first gene-edited children. He was one of the speakers at the summit on Wednesday.

The experts further called for an independent assessment to verify He’s claims. “We recommend an independent assessment to verify this claim and to ascertain whether the claimed DNA modifications have occurred,” David Baltimore, the committee’s chairman stated at the conference while reading out a statement regarding the incident.

The committee further mentioned that the editing of the gene was “irresponsible and failed to conform with international norms”. The experts pointed out that inadequate medical indication, poorly designed study protocol, a failure to protect the welfare of the subjects and a lack of transparency amongst other things in the statement, according to the South China Morning Post.

Meanwhile, scientists have claimed that gene modification will affect the human gene pool adversely. “By doing this, He (the scientist) is changing the human gene pool, we may not be able to see the impact of this until several generations later,” the Chairman of Chinese University’s Department of Chemical Pathology, Dennis Lo Yuk-ming said.

 

(Featured image : KTLA)

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