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Defiant scientist advocates genetically modified children after international screaming


Jiankui He at a laboratory in China.

YouTube / He Lab

On Wednesday in Hong Kong, Chinese scientist Jiankui first put public questions to the media and other researchers after he unveiled his team created the first human genetically modified children.

With some hesitation, the crowd said at a second international human gene editing summit that more children who have been modified by a revolutionary tool for modifying the Crispr gene may be on their way.

"There is another potential pregnancy," he said after turning to the top on the scene. But he warned that pregnancy was at a very early stage.

The scientist already had the meeting place, but the pictures sent to the organizers of the event did not say in advance that the genetically modified human embryos would be due. Rather, the story broke through the MIT Technology Review and owns YouTube videos just before the summit.

So when he arrived on Saturday, he had the opportunity to showcase the work that many photographers, journalists and scientists had read in the room.

Robin Lovell-Badge, a biologist at the Francis Crick Institute, introduced with a strange objection that he reserves the right to cancel the session if there is too much disruption.

Many scientists have arrived in the last 48 hours to condemn the use of Crispr / Cas9 for humans due to many difficult ethical issues. Southern Shenzhen is a science and technology university where she works, too opened an investigation.

After the bizarre minute when Lovell-Badge was silent on the podium, while top employees were probably trying to find only Present On, finally a controversial scientist came to the stage to deafening camera noise. The constant onslaught of lightning and blinds really required breaks and notices from the organizers to repel it.

The presentation was technical and difficult to understand for lay people. The following questions were tense but calm and cordial.

The essence of the study is that seven couples have voluntarily admitted having embryos from their eggs and genetically modified sperm in the hope that the resulting children will be resistant to HIV. Each father in the study was HIV positive and each mother was HIV negative.

The announcement that broke out earlier this week was that the twins, named Lulu and Nana, were born in one of a series of parents with the required genetic modification.

"The plan is to monitor the health of twins for the next 18 years with the hope of agreeing as adults for further monitoring and support," he said at the end of his upcoming remarks.

This week's twin-news reports have weakened the scientific community, and the Nobel Prize laureate, also chairing the organizing committee of David Baltimore, a biology professor from Caltech, took unusual measures to prevent meeting the questions and answers, his work "irresponsible".

It explains the process of genetically modifying embryos that were later transferred to the term and born as twins.

Video Screen by Eric Mack / CNET

"I do not think it was a transparent process, and we only learned about it after what happened and the birth of the children." Personally, I do not think it's medically necessary, "said Baltimore from the stage on the other side of the stage." I think there has been a failure of the scientific community due to lack of transparency. "

Baltimore has stressed that he speaks only on his own behalf and adds that the issues of security and "broad social consensus" have not yet been resolved in the issue of human embryo regulation.

First, it was not about whether another genetically modified pregnancy occurred, and said the trial was "suspended for [the] Current situation."

When he was pressed again, he admitted there was another potential pregnancy.

Critics' pioneer David Liu of the Broad Institute was the first to ask a question from the audience. Liu also said he did not see the medical need for a procedure because he took other measures, including "sperm washing", to ensure that the HIV-positive father did not commit a virus to a mother or offspring. Sperm washing ensures that the sperm does not hold contaminated semen that could then contaminate the embryo.

He replied that the process was not only for Lulu and Nana's parents, but for the millions of children who need HIV protection for which there is currently no vaccine. He spoke about visiting villages in China where 30% of children are HIV-positive.

"They even have to give their children relatives or uncles to lift themselves just to avoid (risk) transmission," he said.

As for Lulu and Nanu, it may be some time for the world to meet them. He said they are likely to remain anonymous due to the laws in China when they reveal the identity of people with HIV.

It's definitely not the last thing we hear from Heho.

He said his research was presented to magazines for future publication.

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