Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could choose your child’s features? There’s no doubt that science has evolved a lot and today, even a crazy idea like that became possible. However, genome-editing is a controversial procedure and the science world has different opinions about it.
This is the main reason why a Chinese scientist shocked and outraged his colleagues from the entire world. Recently, He Jiankui, a researcher active in the field of genome-editing and a staff member of the Southern University of Science and Technology of Shenzhen, China, declared that he contributed to the ’’conception’’ of the first babies brought into the world by using the genome-editing technique.
Gene-editing could prevent HIV development and help infected parents have a healthy child
The babies who caused all this fuss are two twin girls born this month. The scientist says that the mother was impregnated with an edited embryo. The ”egg cell” had been edited for disabling the genetic pathway followed by HIV towards infecting cells.
Jiankui added that everything went as planned, the girls are developing at a normal rate and now they are living in their parents’ home. Analysis performed by using DNA sequencing showed that genome-editing worked, as it only reached the targeted genes.
Even if this process was successful, it remains an experiment, because until now, genome-editing has never been applied to human embryos. Furthermore, the science community condemns Jiankui’s action.
Some experts say that they still don’t know if edited embryos will end up developing normally or fi they will be affected by the process. This could expose normal and healthy children at unnecessary risks.
The Southern University of Science and Technology of Shenzhen declared that they were unaware of Jiankui’s work. They added that the experiment was not performed inside the University’s labs because the scientist has been on leave from the beginning of this year.
Lena Pierce is a reporter for Great Lakes Ledger. After graduating from Ryerson In Toronto, Lena got an internship at CBC radio in Calgary. Lena was also a beat reporter for the Calgary Flames. Lena mostly cover sports and community events. Contact Lena here.