An Ethical Can of Worms

Claims that researchers in China produced the first CRISPR-edited babies stirred intense controversy.

Just ahead of a major international summit on genome editing, scheduled speaker biologist He Jiankui claimed his team at a Chinese university had genetically edited embryos, resulting in the birth of twins in China. Their father is reportedly HIV-positive; He claimed the procedure cleared the twins’ risk of the virus, outraging HIV researchers, BuzzFeed reported.

Chinese authorities are launching an “immediate investigation,” the Guardian reported.

Genetic editing of embryos also comes with major risks such as unwanted mutations and has sparked criticism over a potential new era of “designer babies,” wrote Antonio Regalado, who broke the story in the MIT Technology Review.

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