A Chinese researcher who claims he has helped make the firstborn babies in the genetically modified world say that a second pregnancy could be on the way.
Researcher, He Jiankui from Shenzhen, revealed the pregnancy on Wednesday in making his first public comments about his controversial work at an international conference in Hong Kong.
He claims to change DNA the twins born earlier this month to try to resist them with an AIDS virus infection. The leading scientists have condemned the experiment, and universities and government groups are investigating.
Second pregnancy is very early and more time is needed to monitor it to see if it's going on, he says.
Lead scientists said there were many more reasons to worry and more questions than answers after he spoke. The conference leader said the experiment was "irresponsible" and evidence that the scientific community had not regulated to prevent premature attempts to change DNA.
Changing the DNA before or at the moment of a concept is very controversial as the changes can be inherited and can harm other genes. It is banned in some countries, including the United States, except laboratory research.
Her choice of HIV, instead of fatal hereditary disease, defended her as a test case for gene editing, and she claimed that women could benefit from it.
"They need this protection because the vaccine is not available," he said.
The scientists did not buy it.
"This is a truly unacceptable development," said Jennifer Doudna, a scientist at the University of California-Berkeley and a CRISPR birth instrument inventor who said she was using. "I'm grateful that it seems today, but I do not think we've heard the answers. We need to continue to understand the motivation for this."
"I'll feel more disturbed now," said David Liu, from the Broad Harvard and MIT Foundation, and a variant inventor of the gene generator. "There's a great example of what should not be done with promising technology that has a great potential to benefit from society. I hope it will never happen again."
There is no independent confirmation of a claim and has not yet been published in any scientific journal where experts see it. At the conference, he failed or refused to answer many questions, including who was paying for his work, how he ensured that participants understood the potential risks and benefits, and why he kept his job secret so after it was done.
After speaking, David Baltimore, the Nobel Prize of the California Institute of Technology and the conference leader said his "work would still be considered irresponsible" because he did not meet the criteria that many scientists agreed several years ago before editing the gene. be considered
"Personally, I do not think that it is necessary medically. The choice of the diseases we hear about earlier in today's discussions is much more pressure" than trying to stop HIV infection like this, he says.
If genes are allowed, many scientists have said it should be kept to treat and prevent serious inherited disorders without good alternatives, such as sickle cell anemia and Huntington's disease. HIV is not an appropriate candidate because there are already safe ways of preventing transfer and, if contracted, it can be kept under control with medication, according to the researchers.
The case shows that "the scientific community had failed to self-regulate" and said the conference committee would meet and announce a statement on Thursday about the future of the field, says Baltimore.
Before speaking, Dr. warned George Daley, dean of Harvard Medical School and one of the conference organizers, against an assault to mean births because of his experiment. The fact that the first case was a fake step "I should not, in any way, believe it, lead us to keep our heads in the sand and not consider the very positive aspects that may arise more responsibly" , said Daley. .
"Scientists who become dishonest … cost deeper to the scientific community," said Daley.
Shortly after her talk, canceled an aparition arranged for a Junior embryo editing session, according to the Royal Society, one of the conference organizers.
Regulators have been quick to condemn the experiment both in an uncertain and uncertain way.
The National Health Commission has ordered local officials in the Guangdong province to investigate the actions of He, and his employer, the University of South China Science and Technology, is also investigating.
On Tuesday, Qiu Renzong of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences criticized the decision to let him speak at the conference and said that the statement "should not be on our agenda" until he had # 39 ; to be reviewed by independent experts. One of the breaches of reproductive medicine laws in China has been clear; Qui said, but he said, "the problem is that there is no fine."
US National Health Institutions They said on Wednesday that there should be an international intervention.
"Without such restrictions, the world will face the serious risk of slipping from equally ethical and non-ethical projects," said the agency in a statement.
Meanwhile, more American scientists said they had contacted him and they were aware of what he was doing or suspected.
Dr. Matthew Porteus, a genetist at Stanford University, where he carried out a postdoctoral research, said in February he intended to try human genes. Porteus said he was unconscious and told him "he was irresponsible, that he could endanger all the genes of genes to do this incredibly."
Dr. William Hurlbut, Stanford's elector, said he had "spent a lot of hours" talking to him over the last two years about situations where genes could be appropriate.
"I know his first work. I knew where he was going," said Hurlbut, when he saw four or five weeks ago, did not say he had tried pregnancy with edited embryos , but "I suspected that," said Hurlbut.
"I do not agree with the idea of getting out of the general consensus of the scientific community," said Hurlbut. If science is not considered sufficiently prepared or safe, it will create misunderstanding, dispute and confusion. "
Jennifer Doudna and David Liu are paid by the Howard Hughes Medical Foundation, which also supports the Department of Health and Science AP.