SHANGHAI (Reuters) – More than 100 scientists who mostly condemned a geneticist's "crazy" and unethical claim to change the genes of two girls born this month to create the first genetically engineered dolls.
In an online letter, scientists say CRISPR-Cas9's use of genes for human embryos is risky, unreasonable and harmful to the reputation and development of the Chinese biomedical community.
Scientists in online videos, He Jiankui, defended what he was supposed to achieve by saying he had edited the gene to protect babies from HIV infection from the future, the virus causing AIDS.
"The biomedical ethics review of so-called research exists only in the name. Direct human experiments can only be described as crazy," said one of the news bulletin of The News.
He opened Pandora's box. We can still hope to close it before it's too late, "said a letter written in Chinese and signed by 120 scientists.
Click on tmsnrt.rs/2ReKG1R to edit the Crispr DNS editing technique
Yang Zhengang, professor of Fudan University, told Reuters that he had signed the letter because the editing of the gene was "very dangerous".
The University of Southern Science and Technology, where he is an associate professor, claimed that he had no knowledge of the research project and had been unpaid since February.
China's National Health Commission said on Monday that it was "very concerned" and ordered by provincial health officials "to immediately investigate and clarify the case."
The government's medical ethics committee in Shenzhen, South China, said it was investigating the matter, just like the Guangdong Provincial Health Commission, Southern Metropolis Daily, according to the state media center.
CRISPR-Cas9 is a technology that allows scientists to substantially cut and fill DNA, increasing the genetic improvement of the disease. At the same time, there are concerns about security and ethics as well.
John Ruwitch's Report; Editing Darren Schuettler