Chinese scientists are engaging in a daring effort to develop the world’s first children whose DNA have been altered using gene-editing, according to an exclusive article published by Technology Review.
The article claims that Chinese scientists and researchers first edited the genes of a human embryo back in 2015 that sparked global outcry and pleas from members of the scientific community not to create babies using the technology.
The invention of a gene-editing tool, CRISPR, made the birth of humans genetically modified in an in vitro fertilization center a possibility.
According to several Chinese medical and research documents published online earlier this month, a team of scientists at the Southern University of Science and Technology, in Shenzhen, China has been recruiting couples in an attempt to develop the world’s first gene-edited babies.
The goal is to eliminate a gene called CCR5 in the hope that the offspring may become resistant to HIV, smallpox, and cholera.
According to documents of the clinical trial, CRISPR is employed to modify human embryos before they are transferred into women’s uteruses.
Data submitted as part of the trial listing shows genetic tests have already been performed on fetuses as late as 24 weeks, or six months.
It is currently unknown if those pregnancies were terminated, ongoing, or carried to term.
According to an article published by the Associated Press, the led scientists claimed that one couple in the trial gave birth to twin girls this month
The lead researcher, He Jiankui, said he had altered embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting.
He claimed his goal was not to cure or prevent an inherited disease, but rather to attribute a trait so that the offspring could have the ability to resist possible future infection with HIV and AIDS.
Jiankui noted the parents have declined to be identified or interviewed, and he would not disclose the location of where they live or where the work was done.
(Crusader Journal Staff)