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China confirms genetic engineering babies - and more and more on the way
Government investigators confirmed the statement by the Chinese scientist about the creation of the world's first genetically engineered children, as well as the existence of a second pregnancy with an embryonic gene.

Back in November, scientist He Jiankui drew the attention of the international community, saying that he used the tool to edit the genes CRISPR / Cas-9 to change two embryos. He argued that the changes would protect embryos from HIV infection at a later age, although other experts say the editing was wrong and could put children at risk for future health problems. Although he presented the results for twin girls (Lulu and Nana) at the Genetic Conference in Hong Kong, he did not publish all his data, did not publish his results in an academic journal, or otherwise did not provide definitive evidence that the experiment had taken place. Bioethics, genetics, and other Chinese scientists were horrified by the news, and it was rumored that He was missing or might have been placed under house arrest.

Now, a preliminary investigation conducted by authorities in Guangdong (where the scientist works) confirms the birth and claims that he "defied state bans and conducted research in search of personal fame and benefits,” according to the Chinese state of Xinhua. newspaper The report shows a picture of a lonely scientist who collected funds himself, faked ethical review documents and is likely to face serious accusations. His research was suspended by the Chinese government last year, and has since been fired from the Southern University of Science and Technology. Lula and Nana will be under medical supervision.

It is still unclear what charges He might face if gene editing in the second pregnancy was related to HIV, or what would happen to this second pregnancy. However, the case sparked a wide discussion about the rules of China for this type of biomedical research. In November, former Vice-Minister of Health, Huang Jiefu, suggested that the country set up an organization to monitor biomedical experiments. At the same time, Wang Yue, a health law research specialist at Peking University, told The New York Times that, since traditionally "legal liability is not clear and the punishments are very light,” China must adopt stricter rules.