Al Litoral / AFP-NA
A Chinese researcher said yesterday that he has in-vitro fertilization with various genes produced by AIDS-resistant twins, a message that has ethically criticized an act deemed "dangerous" and "irresponsible."
Yanqui, a professor at Shenzhen University in southern China, posted a video on YouTube announcing the birth two weeks ago of two twins whose DNA was different to be resistant to the AIDS virus and noted that the father was HIV positive.
The researcher, who was trained at Stanford in the United States and director of a special genome laboratory in Shenzhen, explained that he used Crispr-Cas9, called "genetic scissors," which allows removal and replacement of unwanted parts of the genome to repair a computer malfunction.
The babies, called Lola and Nana, were born in vitro fertilization of a fetus that was transplanted before being implanted in the mother's womb.
"Immediately after injection of the husband's sperm into the egg, injected a protein embryologist Crispr-Cas9 responsible for changing the gene to protect the girls from future HIV infection," he explained Jiankui.
Genetic DNA modification can be used to prevent disease, but in practice it is problematic that genetic changes will be inherited by new generations.
MIT Technology Review recalls that "technology has ethical responsibility".
The announcement of the clinical trial came on the eve of the opening of a conference of experts on the world's genome in Hong Kong, during which the Chinese researcher should present his results in detail.
However, after the review, his intervention in the Congress of Genetics is not guaranteed.
This stated medical experiment was not independently verified. The Chinese team did not publish its results in a scientific journal.
Experiment "very problematic"
After the announcement, many Chinese scientists and institutions criticized this experiment.
The university where he works reports that he has stopped receiving his salary since February, and saw that the deposit in the altered kindergartens was "a violation of the ethical criteria of the academy and its norms."
"This study was carried out outside the university framework," the University of Science and Technology of South said in a statement on Monday.
A hundred Chinese scientists have also published a joint statement criticizing the experiment and calling for changes in legislation on in vitro fertilization.
In addition, international researchers visited the announcement with a video on YouTube.
"Announcing these results in a YouTube video is a very problematic scientific practice," lamented Nicholas Evans, a professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts and Massachusetts Lawell in the United States, who works on bioethical issues.
"It moves the control processes on many scientific advances, such as peer assessment," he added, being questioned by AFP.
Whether it's announced or not, the issue raises "serious ethical concerns," says Sarah Chan, of the University of Edinburgh, quoted by the Science Media Center.
"These allegations, apparently to deliberately seek maximum disputes (…) is irresponsible," he added.
He Jiankui did not immediately respond to AFP's questions.