Holy Crap – Some Scientist in China Created Gene-Edited Babies

Yes, human babies. Not that manipulating other forms of life is okay – not for me at least. I stay away from GMO (genetically modified organism) foods the best I can. And I’ve seen enough Sci-Fi movies to know we people should not have the hubris to believe we can tinker around with something we barely understand (life’s building blocks) and think something won’t go awry down the line.

Something always goes awry. Just watch Jurassic Park and tell me I’m wrong.

Anyway, so the Chinese scientist behind this madness, He Jiankui, was sentenced to 3 years in prison and fined the equivalent of $430,000 when the government found out about his experiments.

Here’s an excerpt from CNN;

He Jiankui shocked the world in 2018 when he announced that twin girls Lulu and Nana had been born with modified DNA to make them resistant to HIV, which he had managed using the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 before birth. He, an associate professor at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, said at the time that he was “proud” of the achievement. He later claimed that a second woman was pregnant as a result of his research. But he was condemned by many of his peers, with the experiment labeled “monstrous,” “unethical,” and a “huge blow” to the reputation of Chinese biomedical research. Many people within the scientific community raised ethical concerns, including the level of consent he had obtained from the parents of the babies, and the level of transparency around gene editing.

On one hand, he was trying to modify the genetics of these children to be resistant to HIV. This is actually a positive goal. But the risks involved in tinkering around with a life form’s genetics doesn’t seem to be for the best. Especially when scientists admit there is a lot about biology they don’t understand. We definitely have the ability & technology to tinker around, but this is something we should fully understand before we even consider to do such.