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More CRISPR Scandal News: Could the babies have changed intelligence? Has the government funded the research?



  hand removes string of animated DNA with tweezers

More news has come from China about the two babies born after Han Jiankui's experiment using CRISPR to make children resistant to HIV while still embryos. Now there is some evidence that the two infants could develop genetically improved brains.

According to the reports, the technique of protecting children from developing HIV helps, a disorder that their father has, that they become more intelligent than their peers. According to a report by U.K. Express Alcino J. Silva a neurobiologist at the University of California, the experiment said likely to affect children's brains. Citing an interview Silva gave MIT Technology Review last week that Express reported that the CRISPR process is likely to affect children's cognitive function. Silva quickly realized that her prediction was purely speculative and based on evidence from mouse models that showed the same technique applied to the twins, made the mice subjected to the treatment more intelligent than their peers.

"The work with mice shows the answer can be yes ̵

1; but mice are not humans. We simply don't know what the consequences will be in mucking around with people. We're not ready for it yet," Silva said in the interview with MIT- the publication according to Express .

It was only a few months ago that Jiankui announced to the world that he had used CRISPR to alter seven pairs of embryos to make them resistant to HIV. After the publication, scientists around the world responded that Jiankui & # 39; s experiment was unethical and "monstrous ", especially as it is not known how these edits could be passed on to future generations of children.

In January The Chinese government took action against Jiankui . The government said the researcher was transferred to public safety authorities and the people who participated in the experiment would be "seriously treated by law." At the end of January, the Chinese government said implanting these types of embryos was illegal in that country and added that Jiankui falsified an ethical review to begin his experiment. China's Ministry of Science said it "resolutely opposite" Jiankui's experiment and would work to "improve relevant laws and regulations and improve the scientific research ethics review system."

But since the Chinese government made these allegations, there are some suggestions that government in that country may actually have provided some funds to Jiankui's research. This morning, STAT News STAT News announced that there were documents that it provided that provide some evidence that at least three government agencies in China, including its Ministry of Science, may have provided some funds for the experiment. According to the STST report, the documents reviewed included a slide presentation prepared by Jiankui's team, Chinese linguistic patient forms, and China's clinical trial record. These documents provide sources of finance for the experiment, which included "Ministry of Science and Technology; Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission, part of the municipal government; and Southern University of Science and Technology where he worked."

While funding could be coming from these agencies, STAT noted that it is not clear whether the Chinese government organizations knew exactly how that funding would be used. The world has greatly condemned Jiankui for his attempt and two weeks ago, the World Health Organization announced plans to draft an advisory committee to develop global standards for the management and monitoring of human genome editing.

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