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Science & Technology

World's first genetically edited babies born

By T.K. Randall
November 26, 2018 · Comment icon 10 comments

Should we really be tampering with the genes of unborn babies ? Image Credit: PD - John Keith
Scientists hoping to make children immune to HIV have produced the first ever genetically edited babies.
According to reports, an HIV-positive woman in China has given birth to two baby girls who had undergone gene editing in an effort to prevent them from contracting the disease.

The experiment, which involved using the CRISPR gene editing technique, has yet to be independently verified and has been universally condemned by doctors and scientists.

The team responsible, which was led by He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology of China in Shenzhen, attempted to disable the gene CCR5 which is responsible for producing a certain protein that HIV binds to when it infects someone.

Volunteers were found for the experiment by offering HIV-positive couples free IVF treatment in exchange for participation in what was described as an "AIDS vaccine development program."
It remains unclear whether the method has actually made the two babies immune to the disease.

"If true, this experiment exposes healthy normal children to risks of gene editing for no real necessary benefit," said ethicist Julian Savulescu from the University of Oxford.

"There are many effective ways to prevent HIV in healthy individuals."

It remains unclear what impact the removal of CCR5 may have on the babies over the long term.

Source: New Scientist | Comments (10)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Carnoferox 4 years ago
Note that this hasn't been confirmed yet. China is notorious for producing fake "scientific discoveries".
Comment icon #2 Posted by FlyingAngel 4 years ago
Really, who would want to inject HIV into their own body just to 'test' ?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 4 years ago
I am 100% behind this, that is the gene editing of humans. However, China is notorious for producing these fake stories so I don't necessarily believe that this is true.
Comment icon #4 Posted by AllPossible 4 years ago
Comment icon #5 Posted by Silver Surfer 4 years ago Doesn't sound like it's good for anyone... Especially those least with our current understanding.
Comment icon #6 Posted by sci-nerd 4 years ago
@OverSword†Here we are! To answer your question:†No, they can just take a blood sample and test immunity from that.
Comment icon #7 Posted by danydandan 4 years ago
Aren't there people already immune to HIV?
Comment icon #8 Posted by sci-nerd 4 years ago
It seems there is:†
Comment icon #9 Posted by Still Waters 4 years ago
Latest: †
Comment icon #10 Posted by Still Waters 4 years ago
Update: †

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