Is this actually progress? | VIDEO
| Gene edited baby claim by Chinese scientist sparks global outrage
| By Marilynn Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer
| Scientists and bioethics experts reacted with shock, anger, and alarm Monday to a Chinese researcher’s claim that he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies.
He Jiankui of Southern University of Science and Technology of China said he altered the DNA of twin girls born earlier this month to try to help them resist possible future infection with the AIDS virus — a dubious goal, ethically and scientifically.
There is no independent confirmation of what He says he did, and it has not been published in a journal where other experts could review it. He revealed it Monday in Hong Kong where a gene-editing conference is getting underway, and previously in exclusive interviews with The Associated Press.
Reaction to the claim was swift and harsh.
More than 100 scientists signed a petition calling for greater oversight on gene editing experiments.
The university where He is based said it will hire experts to investigate, saying the work “seriously violated academic ethics and standards.”
A spokesman for He said he has been on leave from teaching since early this year but remains on the faculty and has a lab at the university.
Authorities in Shenzhen, the city where He’s lab is situated, also launched an investigation.
And Rice University in the United States said it will investigate the involvement of physics professor Michael Deem. This sort of gene editing is banned in the U.S., though Deem said he worked with He on the project in China.
“Regardless of where it was conducted, this work as described in press reports violates scientific conduct guidelines and is inconsistent with ethical norms of the scientific community and Rice University,” the school said in a statement. Read more.
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