Chinese scientist Jiankui He on Wednesday asked questions from the media and other researchers for the first time publicly since…
Chinese scientist Jiankui He on Wednesday asked questions from the media and other researchers for the first time publicly since revealing his law.
With some hesitation, he told the crowd at the Second International Human Resource Summit in Hong Kong that more children modified by the CRISPR revolutionary redirection tool could be on its way.
“There is another potential pregnancy,” he said as he pressed the scene after presenting his work at the summit. But he warned that the pregnancy is at a very early stage.
The scientist had already had a place to speak at the summit, but the pictures he sent to the organizer’s organizers predicted nothing to carry redirected human embryos to the term. Rather, the story broke through MIT Technology Review and his own YouTube videos just before the summit.
So when he got up on Wednesday he was presented with the work that many photographers, journalists and researchers in the room had already read about in the news.
Robin Lovell-Badge, a biologist at the Francis Crick Institute, introduced him to the odd cave that he reserved the right to cancel the session if there was too much interruption.
Many researchers have come forward in the last 48 hours to condemn the use of CRISPR / Cas9 on humans because of the many broken ethical issues. Shenzhens Southern University of Science and Technology, where he works, also.
After a bizarre minute where Lovell-Badge stood silent on the podium while the summit probably tried to find justice -introduced he, the controversial scientist finally looked out and took the stage against the convincing noise of camera shakers. The constant attack of blinking and shutters actually required an interruption and announcement from the organizers to turn it off.
His presentation was technical and difficult to decipher for the layman. The questions that followed were tense but calm and cordial.
The study is based on seven pairs of volunteers to get embryos from the egg and sperm genetically modified in the hope that the resulting children would be resistant to HIV. Each dad in the trial was HIV positive and each mother was HIV-negative.
The message that broke earlier this week was that twin girls dubbed Lulu and Nana were born into one of the parents’ sets of desired genetic modification.
“The plan is to monitor the health of twins for the next 1
8 years with the hope that they will consent to adults for continued monitoring and support,” he said after the conclusion of his prepared comments.
The news about the birth of twins rocked the science community this week and CalTech biology professor David Baltimore, a Nobel laureate who is also chairman of the Summit Organizing Committee, took the unusual way of prefacing the question and answering session with him by taking a moment to call his work “irresponsible”.
Video screenshot of Eric Mack / CNET
“I do not think it has been a transparent process. We only found it after it happened and after the children were born. Personally, I do not think it was medically necessary,” said Baltimore from the podium he was watching from the other side of the scene. “I think there has been a failure in the scientific community because of the lack of transparency.”
Baltimore stressed that he spoke only on his own and added that security issues and “broad social consensus” have not yet been elaborated on the issue of editing human embryos.
He was destroyed at the first question if there were other genetically modified pregnancies going on, saying the trial was “paused because of [the] current situation”.
When he was pressed again, he acknowledged that there was another potential pregnancy.
CRISPR pioneer David Liu from Broad Institute was the first to ask a question from the audience. Liu also said that he did not see the medical need for the procedure because he used other measures, including “sperm cleansing”, to ensure that the HIV positive father did not transfer the virus to the mother or the offspring. Sperm cavity ensures that there is no contaminated sperm attached to the sperm, which can contaminate the embryo.
He replied that the trial was not only for the parents of Lulu and Nana, but for millions of children who need protection against HIV, for which there is currently no vaccine. He talked about visiting villages in China where 30 percent of the children are HIV-positive.
“They must also give their children to relatives or uncles to raise just to prevent the transfer,” he said.
In the case of Lulu and Nana, it may be time before the world meets. He said that they are likely to remain anonymous because of laws in China about revealing the identity of people with HIV.
It’s certainly not the last we will hear from Han.
He said his research has been the subject of equality
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