World is horrified after Chinese reseacher claims first gene-edited babies. Chinese medical officials are investigating the scientist.
He Jiankui said the twin sisters were born with immunity to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS after altering their DNA in a lab. The research was developed in secrecy. Until now scientists were unwilling to cross the ethical line. "I believe families need this technology. And I'm willing to take the criticism for them.[...] No gene was changed except the one to prevent HIV infection. The girls are safe, healthy as any other babies," He said. He's university in China believes the researcher "seriously violated academic ethics and codes of conduct." International reactions are similar. Several scientists said the experiment was "monstrous," "premature, dangerous and irresponsible."
"Taking those embryos forward through pregnancy to live children, to me, is absolutely appalling and horrifying. I can't imagine why anyone with any sort of compassion would actually do that," said Kiran Musunuru, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. There are rules against this kind of experimentation in the U.S. and Europe, but not yet in China. Rice University is investigating bioengineering professor Michael Deem after he was quoted in media reports as having been involved with the work of He Jiankui. The University said it did not believe that any of the clinical work was performed in the United States.