In 2015, Chinese scientists for the first time successfullyedited the human genome in the laboratory. Then the whole world community started talking about creating genetically modified people and some countries even completely banned such experiments. But China continued to work further in this direction, and just recently He Jiankui from the Southern Science and Technology University in Shenzhen told the public that the world's first genetically modified people were born.
According to the publication MIT Technology Review,A team of scientists from the Southern Scientific and Technological University for such an important event specifically selected a couple of people who planned the procedure of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Using the genome editor CRISPR-Cas9, scientists edited the CCR5 gene, which should make the progeny resistant to smallpox, cholera and HIV.
Despite claims of success, the story is stilluntil the end does not add up to a whole picture. He Jiangkui who announced the success has not yet commented on certain aspects. For example, whether the birth was physiological. However, the data provided suggests that all genetic tests were performed in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. The Associated Press reports that the first girls in the world to be genetically modified were two twin girls, named Nana and Lulu. However, the available information is not enough to say that the modification was successful and the health of children is not in danger.
Also, some researchers have questions toediting the CCR5 gene. It is believed that people without working copies of the gene are immune or highly resistant to HIV infection. However, this applies to those who do not initially have this gene. In this case, we are talking about the imitation of this on living embryos and in fact a genetic mutation. Yes, removing the CCR5 gene to create HIV resistance can be a pretty good reason, but scientists note that there are also simpler and less expensive ways of preventing HIV.
As in all controversial situations, the world scientificcommunity divided. While some are optimistic about the future, others are trying to find potential dangers in creating genetically modified people,
"The technology is basically ready for use."on human embryos. But we must understand that the changes made will be inherited by future generations and may ultimately affect the entire gene pool. We have never done anything that will change the genes of the human race, and we have never done anything that will have consequences that will continue for generations. ”Said David Baltimore, a biologist and former president of the California Institute of Technology.
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