Gene-editing scientist under scrutiny by Chinese officials

As germline edits the new traits could be passed on to offspring

As germline edits the new traits could be passed on to offspring

A Chinese scientist at the centre of an ethical storm over what he claims are the world's first genetically edited babies said yesterday he is proud of his work and revealed that another volunteer is pregnant as part of the research.

"Even if the modifications are verified, the procedure was irresponsible and failed to conform with worldwide norms", the organising committee of the Second global Summit on Human Genome Editing, being held in Hong Kong this week, said in a statement released by email and posted online.

The Shenzhen government joined Guangdong provincial authorities in an investigative group on Tuesday. He did not indicate whether He was charged with any crimes.

"It is shocking and unacceptable", Xu was quoted as saying.

The summit organizers were similarly critical in a highly anticipated consensus statement issued on the event's last day.

"The clinical trial was paused due to the current situation", he added. But in the meantime, the panel called for a halt. Medical advances need to be openly discussed with patients, doctors, scientists and society, he said.

The case prompted a heated debate among the scientific community, with many raising concerns over the lack of verified data and the risks of exposing healthy embryos to gene editing.

He Jiankui states that he practiced gene editing in mice, monkey, and human embryos in lab trials for several years and has applied for patents in his methods.

In the future, such technology could be used to eradicate inherited illnesses, but it could also pave the way for "designer babies" engineered to have certain traits like hair colour or intelligence.

The National Health Commission is now investigating the claims made by He.

Gene editing could potentially help avoid heritable diseases by deleting or changing troublesome coding in embryos.

The news however did not meet the approval of the scientific community worldwide.

He also thanked his university, the Southern University of Science and Technology in China, but noted that they were "unaware of the study's conduct". He has said the parents involved declined to be identified or interviewed, and he would not say where they live or where the work was done. Scientists from across the globe lambasted He's experiment. This kind of gene editing is banned in the United States and many other countries.

"Having listened to Dr".

He said he had funded the experiment himself and confirmed his university had not been aware of it.

He's announcement, which has not been verified, sparked an worldwide outcry about the ethics and safety of such research.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports by the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

However, such technology has not matured, which could result in genes that were not the target of the experiment also being modified.

Those recommendations suggested the technology could be useful, which may have emboldened He. The Southern University of Science and Technology, where He works, distanced itself from him and called the research a "serious violation of academic ethics and norms", adding that he has been on unpaid leave since February.

But he apologised that his research "was leaked unexpectedly".

Scientists do not know whether there were any unintended edits to other genes, Musunuru says. "There seems to be need for more clarity". "This has indicated that nearly anyone could try this; this guy's not a physician, he's a physicist".

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