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AP Exclusive: First refurbished babies claimed in China

By Marilynn Marchione | AP November 25 at 10:45 HONG KONG – A Chinese scientist claims he helped make the…

HONG KONG – A Chinese scientist claims he helped make the world’s first genetically modified babies twin girls born this month, whose DNA he said he changed with a powerful new tool that could

True would it be a deep shot of science and ethics.

An American researcher said he participated in China’s work, but this type of redevelopment is forbidden in the United States because DNA changes can be transmitted to future generations and risk to harm other genes.

Many common scientists think it’s too uncertain to try, and some condemned the Chinese report as human experiment.

The researcher, He Jiankui of Shenzhen, said he changed embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with a pregnancy that so far occurred. He said his goal was not to cure or prevent hereditary disease, but to try to donate a move that few people naturally have &#821

1; an ability to withstand any future infection with the HIV, AIDS virus.

He said that the parents concerned declined to be identified or interviewed, and he would not say where they live or where the job was done.

There is no independent confirmation of His claims, and it has not been published in a magazine, where it would be perceived by other experts. He revealed it on Monday in Hong Kong to one of the organizers of an international conference on redecoration that will start Tuesday and earlier in exclusive interviews with The Associated Press.

“I feel strong responsibility for not just making a first one, but doing an example too,” he told AP. “Society will decide what to do next” in terms of allowing or prohibiting such science.

Some researchers were astounded to hear the claim and strongly condemned it.

It’s “unconventional … an experiment on people who are not moral or ethically justified,” says Dr. Kiran Musunuru, a university rector of Pennsylvania re-engineering expert and editor of a genetic journal.

“This is too early,” says Dr. Eric Topol, Head of Scripps Research Translational Institute in California. “We are dealing with a manual for a human being. That’s a big deal.”

A famous geneticist, Harvard University’s George Church, tried to try to redirect to HIV, which he called “a major and growing threat to public health” .

“I think this is justified,” the Church has said about that goal.

In recent years, researchers have discovered a relatively easy way to edit genes, the DNA strings that control the body, using a tool that allows to provide a necessary gene or disable one that causes problems.

It has only recently been attempted in adults to treat fatal diseases, and the changes are limited to that person. Editing sperm, egg or embryos is different – the changes can be hereditary. In the United States, it is not allowed except laboratory research. China forbids human cloning but not specifically redecoration.

Han Jiankui (HEH JEE & # 39; -an-qway) studied at Rice and Stanford University in the US before opening a laboratory at the Southern University of Science and Technology in China, Shenzhen, where he also has two genetics companies.

The American researcher who worked with him on this project after returning to China was physics and biotechnology professor Michael Deem, who advised him on rice. Deem also keeps what he called “a little effort” in and serves on the scientific advisory boards in that he is two companies.

The Chinese scientist said he chose to try out embryo redeployment for HIV, because these infections are a major problem in China. He tried to disable a gene called CCR5 which forms a protein port that allows HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, to enter a cell.

All men in the project had HIV and all women did not, but the reshuffle was not aimed at preventing the small risk of transmission, he said. The fathers had their infections deeply suppressed by common HIV drugs and there are easy ways to keep them from infected offspring.

Instead, the appeal was to offer couples affected by HIV a chance to have a child protected from a similar fate.

He said that the reshuffle occurred during IVF, or laboratory fertilization. First, “sperm” was sifted to distinguish it from sperm, the fluid where HIV may fool. A single sperm was placed in a single egg to create an embryo. Then the redial tool was used.

When embryos were 3 to 5 days old, some cells were removed and checked for editing. Couples can choose whether to use edited or unedited embryos for pregnancy tests. Eleven embryos were used in six trials before double pregnancy was achieved, he said.

Test suggests that a twin had both copies of the intended gene altered and the other twilight had only one change without it showing any harm to other genes, he said. People with a copy can still get HIV.

Several researchers reviewed materials that he gave to AP and the tests mentioned so far are insufficient to draw conclusions.

It is unclear whether the participants fully understood the purpose and potential risks and benefits. For example, consent forms called the project an “AIDS vaccine development program”.

Students are not ethics, but he says, but “there are as many authorities what is correct and what’s wrong, because it’s their life on the line.”

“I think this will help families and their children, “he said. If it causes unwanted side effects or damage, “I would feel the same pain as they do and it will be my own responsibility.”


AP Science Writer Christina Larson, AP videographer Emily Wang and AP researcher Fu Ting contributed to this report from Beijing and Shenzhen, China.


This Associated Press series was produced in collaboration with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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