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Controversial scientist He Jiankui has been condemned by academics who say his work editing the genes of unborn twin girls was unnecessary, substandard and posed unnecessary risks to the babies.
Researchers Haoyi Wang and **** Yang, both well-known experts in the field of gene editing, penned an opinion piece in the well-respected scientific journal Plos One comprehensively dismantling the science behind his work.
Procedure - Scope - Consideration - Method - Risks
They say his procedure was not only morally reprehensible and far beyond the scope of any ethical consideration, but also that his scientific method was lax and took unnecessary risks.
They state in the piece that 'gene-editing early embryos does not provide benefits for the babies, while posing potentially serious risks on multiple fronts.'
Researcher - Technology - CRISPR-Cas9 - Genes - Girls
The disgraced researcher used gene-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 to alter the embryonic genes of twin girls nicknamed 'Lulu' and 'Nana'.
Dr He's justification for the experiment was to confer HIV immunity to the embryos to avoid infection from the father, who is HIV positive.
University - Post - Investigation - Authorities
He has since been fired from his university post and is under investigation from Chinese authorities.
The experts argue that Dr He's work was fundamentally misconceived — starting with the fact that, in the circumstances, the gene editing was entirely unnecessary.
Dr - Wang - Dr - Yang - State
Dr Wang and Dr Yang state the infection could have been avoided during conception by using already well established assisted-reproduction technologies.
Similarly, infection could have been avoided after birth by simply avoiding any potential risks of HIV exposure.
'suffices - People
This, they note, 'suffices for most people'.
The gene Dr He edited is called CCR5, and it is involved in regulating the body's immune system.
Mutations - CCR5 - Levels - Resistance - Populations
Although naturally-occurring mutations in CCR5 have been associated with higher levels of resistance to infection specifically in European populations, these do not block all strains of HIV.
He sought to disable a gene called CCR5 that forms a protein doorway that allows HIV,...
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