Friday , April 23 2021

Science in crisis: genetically modified babies

Chinese scientist Li Jiankui announced that he modified the DNA of two babies to be immune to HIV. The answer of the international scientific community was unanimous: that was not ethical.

1. Ebla longge. In his speech during the 2nd International Congress on the Human Genome Edition, Chinese genetics Li Jiankui announced the birth of two twins whose ADN was modified using the CRISPR-Cas9 technique to be immune to virus AIDS.

The Chinese researcher has not presented his research to the revision of other scientists, nor has he revealed the truth to some collaborators and does not consider the international consensus against genetic editing in babies. Therefore, according to M. Vidal, "his experiment has generated repulsion as immediate as spread." (The Country, November 29, 2018)

The newspaper El Paze has tagged He Jiankui as a "unsuccessful seeker of glory" (see), while The Vanguardia published the news with this title: "Dr. He is a genetic genus" (see), and also compares it with Italian an embryologist Severino Antinori when he announced in 2002, also without evidence that he had crowned human embryos and implanted them into three women.

2. The risk of genetic manipulation. The supposed experiment of Dr. He Jiankui would be to eliminate the molecular receptacles (the CCR5 genus) through which human imunodeficiency virus (HIV) can penetrate the target and infect it from the two genetic material (DNA) of the two girls.

According to German biologist Jan Korbel, interviewed by the digital newspaper Deutsche Welle (DW), "this procedure is not only ethically critical, but very risky," because during the procedure to eliminate the molecular receptors of HIV from DNA, they can also be Removed other genes that will affect those girls in the future. (DW, Nov. 26, 2018)

In addition, Josep Corbella explains that the genetic edition that Li Jiankui has done does not have medical justification, because "one of the girls who are supposedly born is still vulnerable to HIV, because she has one of the two copies of the intact gene He knew – or should know – before implanting the embryo. "(The Vanguardia, Nov. 29, 2018)

3. Reaction in favor of ethics. Although the veracity of the experiment is in doubt by the scientific community, the news has joined many international scientists who condemned the lack of He Jiankui.

The agency of Reuters reports that more than 100 scientists, most of them Chinese, have written a letter and published the Chinese website in which they say that "the ethical biomedical analysis of this called research exists only in the name. of direct human experiments can only be described as madness. "(The Jornada, Nov. 27, 2018)

With this news, the Committee of Bioethics of the Council of Europe recalled that ethics and human rights should guide any use of genome technology technologies in humans, and warned that a DNA edition has "many ethical problems, social and security" . (, Nov. 30, 2018)

Epilogo Li Jiankui has just opened the "Pandora Box", because it has risked the future of human health. The words of the serpent to Eva resonate: "you will be like gods". However, it was the scientific community and lay media that protested the experiment, and recalled that science does not have to redirect people.

@FeyRazon [email protected]

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