[Yet another example of Chinese science at its finest. Using techniques that the West already considered to be not accurate enough … So Jewish-China …. not doing so good hey? Jan]
He Jiankui has not been seen publicly since January 2019, just a few months after he infamously announced the birth of twin girls whose DNA was edited using CRISPR. His plan was to make the girls immune to HIV infection by modifying a gene known to offer some protection against the virus.
Seemingly proud of his achievement, He encountered swift worldwide condemnation — not merely over the secrecy of the experiment but also for the possible harm that could have been done to the babies, whose genes were manipulated while in an embryonic state. CRISPR is an imperfect technique that can alter DNA in unknown and sometimes harmful ways, as animal studies have demonstrated.
The Chinese government, which may have supported He’s efforts, has since suspended all of his research activities and, according to the New York Times, has kept him under guard.
Not much is known about He’s procedure. Here’s what is known: Scientists have stated that the basic premise of the work — altering a gene called CCR5 to prevent HIV infection — is shortsighted because this altered gene, found in nature, does not offer uniform HIV protection to those people who carry it. Moreover, the twins were given imperfect versions of this altered gene, and the health consequences are unknown, according to investigative work done by MIT Technology Review.
So, this was an experimental study otherwise suitable only for lab animals, medically unnecessary and poorly executed at that. There was a third gene-edited baby, too, perhaps born in the summer of 2019. Nothing is known of the baby’s fate.
At issue is germline gene-editing on embryos. Gene alteration at this early stage ensures that all genetic modifications are copied into every cell in the body, including egg and sperm cells, making the changes inheritable. Otherwise, CRISPR and similar technologies continue to show great promise in curing genetic diseases in children and adults through more isolated and limited gene modification.