The scientist who created the world’s first gene-edited babies is sentenced to prison

He Jiankui, a Chinese scientist, made headlines last year when he and his team announced that they had created the world’s first genetically modified babies. He has been sentenced to three years in prison by a southern Chinese court and asked to pay a fine of $430,000. His colleagues were sentenced for less time and were asked to pay lesser fines.

The scientist announced that he used CRISPR, a gene-editing technique, on a human embryo to modify the genes of twin girls. He has said that his intentions behind the illegal experiment were good and that he wanted to help prevent HIV. However, the Shenzen court found the scientist and his colleagues guilty of banned medical practices. China has regulations based on ethical principles when it comes to genetical modifications.

- Advertisement -

Read More: Prime [gene] editing, a method that works along CRISPR

Reportedly, three babies have been born from the gene-edited embryos. At first, the scientists had announced the creation of the embryos but did not acknowledge that an illegal pregnancy was initiated using said embryos. The scientists also do not carry any doctor’s credentials.

The court’s statement according to the South China Morning Post: “None of the three defendants acquired doctor’s qualifications. [They] craved fame and fortune and deliberately went against the country’s regulations on scientific research and medical management. [They] went beyond the bottom lines of scientific research and medical ethics.”

The Post also reports that the He Jiankui organized his team with foreign staff, and used sub-par technology with questionable safety to perform the gene-editing. He also did everything with the intention to avoid surveillance. A Nature Medicine study found out that the modifications that He made could make people more susceptible to other viruses such as West Nile and Influenza.

- Advertisement -

Read Also: Gene-edited supercells to cure sickle cell anemia

My personal take

I feel genetically modifying a human being is far out in the future. I love science and advancements in technology. We are not anywhere near the stage where we can modify a human embryo with positive intentions and accurately predict the side effects or the generational repercussions.

Gene-editing could help save thousands of lives more effectively than medication. One day. However, I do agree with the fact that we should not attempt something that we don’t know anything about, not for ethical/moral reasons, but for scientific reasons. We already take so many different types of medication, which very slowly changes our genes. Gene-editing, to me, is just a form of very advanced and potentially dangerous medication. Maybe 100 years into the future, but we definitely shouldn’t attempt such techniques on humans for a long long time.

What do you think about using advanced gene-editing techniques on humans? Do you think we should start now, later, or never at all due to ethical reasons? Let me know by sending an email to praveen@newslanded.com, and I’ll feature the most unique opinion in our newsletter, What Just Happened.

- Advertisement -

Apply to write for us if you love writing and want to see your articles featured on Apple News, Google News, and more. Subscribe to our newsletter, What Just Happened, where we dive deep into the hottest topics from the week!

Source: NPR

More from Science – News Landed

First-ever human head transplants could be possible by 2030, says an NHS veteran

41,000-year-old body of the most ancient lemming found by a schoolgirl

Popular Stories – News Landed

Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown might play Young Leia in Star Wars TV show

Conor McGregor bulks up ahead of his return at UFC 246 to contest at welterweight

Related Stories

Samira Musa: One of the most famous scientists from Egypt

On these days in August 1952, specifically on the fifth day of August, Egypt was saddened by...

CRISPR gene-editing can be used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanford researchers find

In 2019, Assistant Professor Stanley Qi and his team in the departments of bioengineering and chemical and...

Featured Stories

Venus: 10 shocking facts about our nearest planet you never knew

1. A day on Venus is longer than its year. It takes 243 Earth...

How to deal with COVID-19? A Zumba® Ambassador reveals the secret!

Keeping our mental and physical health in this difficult time has been, and it still is a...

Search for alien life among 10 million star systems ends with no results

A search for alien life in other star systems has come up empty-handed. A recent project named...

The post-inflammatory syndrome of COVID-19 is becoming more complex in children

After contracting the COVID-19 and recovery, the body takes its own time to get to normal. Unfortunately,...

FDA authorizes Abbott’s 15-minute, $5 COVID-19 card test ‘BinaxNOW’

Abbott Laboratories’ new technology might change the game in how the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is...

The new Fitbit Sense will detect how stressed you are

In the past, Versa has been the flagship for the Fitbit company, but no more for Fitbit...

Comment Below

Samira Musa: One of the most famous scientists from Egypt

On these days in August 1952, specifically on the fifth day of August, Egypt was saddened by...

CRISPR gene-editing can be used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanford researchers find

In 2019, Assistant Professor Stanley Qi and his team in the departments of bioengineering and chemical and...