China confirms the birth of gene-edited babies from Prof He Jiankui research

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China confirms the birth of gene-edited babies from Prof He Jiankui research
China confirms the birth of gene-edited babies from Prof He Jiankui research

Chinese scientist Prof He Jianku is on the news again, and China confirms the birth of gene-edited babies, Lulu and Nana.

Chinese authorities are holding Prof He Jianku responsible for this matter.

Investigators said that Prof He Jianku had altered the genes of twin girls so that the babies would be resistant to the HIV Virus.

Human embryo gene-editing for the purposes of reproduction is banned in the United States of America and most of Europe.

In China there are ministerial guidelines that prohibit embryo research that violates ethical or moral principles. Investigators said that the professor acted on his own and will be punished for any violations of the law.

Prof He Jianku had organised a project team which include foreign staff, and they had intentionally avoided detection by officials in order to carry out the illegal gene-editing activity on the embryos.

Prof He Jianku had forged ethical review papers and recruited eight couples to participate in his experiment. The couples comprised of HIV positive husbands and HIV negative wives.

One of the couple decided to drop out of the experiment. Out of the remaining seven couples who participated only two had successful pregnancy.

One set of pregnancies resulted in the birth of twin babies Lulu and Nana. A third embryo has not been born yet.

Prof He Jianku published a Youtube video announcing the successful birth of Lulu and Nana in Nov 2018. Few days after the announcement was made, the Chinese government ordered the halt on the professor’s gene-editing research. 

The twin babies Lulu and Nana will remain under medical observation under the supervision by government health departments. This decision was welcomed by the scientific community.

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