According to the Chinese stateXinhua News Agency, He Jiankui, a researcher responsible for creating the world's first genetically edited babies, was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of illegal medical practice. In November 2018, Jiankui announced to the general public that he had edited the genome of two twin girls at the embryo stage. The actions of the scientist and his colleagues made babies immune to the immunodeficiency virus. Recently it became known about the existence of a third child with an edited genome. But how is this possible?
Where did the third child come from?
In fact, the existence of a third child withthe edited genome was no secret. So, at the end of 2018, for the first time talking about editing the genome of the embryos of twin girls, Jiankui talked about another embryo whose genome was edited. According to news agency Agence France-Presse, a bioethicist at Stanford University, William Hurlboot talked with a Chinese scientist about editing the human genome. In his opinion, at the time of their conversation, the woman was probably 12-14 weeks pregnant. In this case, the child should have been born in the summer of 2019. However, no news of the birth of a third child in the summer appeared.
Jiangkui was sentenced to three years on December 30imprisonment and a fine of 430 thousand euros for violation of medical practice and the conduct of the "experiment in which three genetically modified children were born." Jiankui’s colleagues were also convicted, having received different terms of imprisonment (1 - 2 years, the second - 18 months with a two-year delay).
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It should be noted that China condemned the work of the scientistimmediately after the announcement of the birth of the twins, however, not a word was said about the third child. Thus, the arrest of Jinkui and his colleagues confirmed the birth of the third baby with the edited genome. However, there is no detailed information about the newborn. Thus, information on gender, health status and complications during childbirth remains unknown. Moreover, no one knows whether the third child is alive or not.
The ambiguity of the experiment
During the trial, all threeResearchers pleaded guilty. The goal of the scientists was to give birth to children with innate immunity to HIV. As the investigation proved, Jiankui and his team forged a certificate of ethical analysis and hired eight pairs of volunteers, including men infected with HIV. During the work, genetically modified embryos were introduced to women, two of whom gave birth to these unusual children.
This is interesting: Chinese scientists have introduced human brain genes to monkeys.
Be that as it may, the question of gene modificationsooner or later, a person had to face the general public. Perhaps further monitoring of genetically modified children will help clarify this difficult situation on all sides. And do you think Jiangkui and his colleagues did the right thing? Let's talk about whether science has crossed the line in our cozy Telegram chat. Join now!