On November 26, He Jiankui, a scientist from Shenzhen, announced that a pair of genetically edited babies named Lulu and Nana were born in China in November. Since the genes of the twins were edited, they were able to fight AIDS after birth. However, the announcement of “Gene Editing Baby” immediately aroused strong repercussions in the international community and attracted many questions. The content of the question focused on the ethical issues, necessity and safety involved in the study.
After the news of “The First Gene Editing Baby” broke out, Chinese and local authorities paid close attention to it as experts worldwide voiced outrage at such use of the technology. The China Health Planning Commission, the Guangdong Provincial Health Planning Commission, and the Ministry of Science and Technology responded to the incident.
The Chinese Health and Health Committee said on the evening of 26th that it attached great importance to this matter and immediately requested the Guangdong Provincial Health and Health Commission to seriously investigate and verify it. It is highly responsible and scientifically sound to the people’s health, and is handled according to the law in accordance with the law, and the results are disclosed to the public in a timely manner.
Xu Nanping, deputy director of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, said on the 27th at the “Minister’s Tea House” held by the State Council Information Office that after the “Genetic Editing Baby” incident on the 26th, the Ministry of Science and Technology was highly concerned and will cooperate with relevant departments to conduct investigations. It will be dealt with seriously according to the law and give the society a confession.
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Although he has already pointed out, He Jiankui, an associate professor at China Southern University of Science and Technology, is still talking at the summit. His first sentence “apology” is not because of his so-called invention, but he claims to be “information disclosure.” He Jiankui even said: “Thousands of babies at risk of AIDS need such protection… I am proud of my work.” He believes that global CCR5 mutations can produce HIV-1 on a global scale. resistance. CCR5 is one of the most well-studied genes.
He Jiankui’s speech was immediately questioned. Professor Robin pointed out that the CCR5 is a reliable target? Are we already aware of its features? You mentioned that many people have this genetic variation, mostly Nordic, which is not common in China. In addition, will editing CCR5 cause other complicated situations, such as West Nile virus infection? Also, influenza patients with CCR5 mutations may be more severe, which may not be a good thing?
Nobel laureate David Baltimore also immediately stated: “In the last summit, we mentioned that if there is a lack of ‘wide social consensus on appropriateness’, any editor of the reproductive system is irresponsible. I believe that this consensus is still established, and the current clinical application is still irresponsible. This process is not transparent, we know that after the whole incident, even the child has been born. In medicine, genetic editing is not necessary. Earlier today, the disease mentioned in the meeting was more widely used than protecting an HIV patient.” Baltimore’s implication is that even with a wider range of diseases, it’s not possible to talk about the editing of the reproductive system. What is the study of He Jiankui? In an interview with reporters, Baltimore said that the practice of “gene editing baby” is not ethical. At present, he has not seen any research results.
Qiu Renzong, a researcher and medical ethics expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has repeatedly stressed that in today’s barrier-free technology, there is absolutely no need to apply genetic editing to infants to immunize HIV, which is like “cannons playing mosquitoes”, and He Jiankui did It’s not just about modifying the somatic or germline genome, it’s about enhancing the somatic or germline genome. The moral legitimacy and acceptability of this practice are extremely low.
R. Alta Charo, a professor of biolaws and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who was involved in the conference, concluded that the experiment was misleading, premature, unnecessary, and essentially useless. “The two children have actually There is no risk of HIV infection because the father, not the mother, is infected with AIDS.”
When the host finally asked He Jiankui, “If it is your child, would you still do it?” He Jiankui said without hesitation: “I will try it first.” Nevertheless, authoritative scientists have reached a consensus: first His work is unnecessary. Secondly, the research process is uncertain and dangerous. Of course, it is not in line with ethical norms.
However, the problem has followed. If his research is necessary, if the uncertainty is also ruled out, it proves to be safe and reliable. So, will genetic editing continue? If it continues, where is its bottom line and how is it regulated? If all the conditions are ripe, ask, do we really want to accept a new human being?R. Alta Charo suggested that the following conditions must be met before performing a genetic editing human experiment:
1. Urgent need to prevent or treat a serious disease or condition;
2. Lack of existing and available interventions as a reasonable alternative;
3. Strict and independent analysis of procedures (including recruitment of participants);
4.A set of criteria for identifying and assessing off-target effects and other risks;
5. long-term tracking of plans and methods of managing the process;
6. compliance with any relevant regulatory agency or government requirements;
7. personnel required to perform the intervention task should have expertise;
8. Open peer review of preclinical and clinical data;
9. Transparency of the scientific community and the public at each step of the process.
George Daley, a well-known stem cell biologist at Harvard Medical School, said that he did not want the event to abandon his interest in CRISPR technology, and he did not want the future development of gene editing technology to be affected. He believes that with the development of science and technology, some guidelines based on the development level at that time must be re-discussed. At present, there is still a lack of consensus on optimal methods in clinical medicine for gene therapy. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss and formulate a clear development roadmap. “, set what “allow” and “not allow”.
Daley believes that one type of “green light” can be used for genetic disease prevention, such as stage-Sar syndrome or cystic fibrosis. Of course, in Daley’s classification, genetic optimization is clearly listed as “red light ban”, including strengthening muscles, changing height, skin color, memory and so on.
Qiu Renzong divided the gene editing into four categories. The first category is cell therapy, which has been widely used. The second category is cell reproductive therapy, which is considered to be worth trying. The third category refers to genetic enhancement without commercial purposes. The fourth is Refers to genetic enhancement of commercial purposes. He said that so far, the first category is available, the second category should be encouraged, and the third and fourth categories should be banned. “Because we don’t know what will happen after that.”
It can be seen from this that many experts believe that genetic editing techniques can be tried in the case of “conditions permitting”. But people have to ask, what happens when scientists invent and create? What is the future of the human genome that has been “forced”?
Now, people are very concerned about the fate of two genetic girls. He Jiankui swears: “I will care to protect them. My philosophy is this. I will not use tools to control their future. They have the freedom to choose and have the right to choose their own life.”
There are many comments on the Internet, some people advocate “caught” them, and some people think that they “cannot marry and have children.” At this time, the reporter showed a picture in front of him: a little girl was imprisoned in a cage, surrounded by wire mesh. Suddenly, one day, the girl escaped from the cage. She has amazing speed, and even more terrifying is that she grew up amazingly and became an adult… This is also a movie, a classic more than 20 years ago, called “Different.”