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Reproduced babies were illegal, Chinese authorities say



In November, Chinese scientist He Jiankui released international violence when he announced that twin girls – Lulu and Nana – had been born with modified DNA to make them resistant to HIV. He later revealed that another woman was pregnant as a result of the study.

Monday, investigators from the Guangdong Province Health Commission reported that "the case was first identified as an explicitly prohibited human embryo reproductive activity for reproductive purposes performed by He Jiankui," Xinhua reported. The Commission added that the researcher has carried out the work "In pursuit of personal fame and happiness, with self-levied funds and deliberate evasion of supervision and private recruitment of related staff."

The authorities also believe that he falsified both ethical audit documents and blood tests to circumvent a ban on assisted reproduction for HIV-positive patients, reported state media.

Questions prompted the authenticity of his ethical approval documents shortly after the babies were revealed when one of the hospitals mentioned in the paperwork refused any involvement in the procedures.

"We can ensure that the research was not conducted in our hospital or the children were born here," a Shenzhen Harmonicare Women & Children's Hospital representative told CNN in November. The hospital confirmed that two of the doctors named in his documents work in the hospital and suggested that an internal examination was on the way.
  Chinese scientist He Jiankui defended his research activity at the second international summit on human by editing in Hong Kong in November 28.

Editing of the genes of embryos intended for pregnancy is prohibited in many countries, including the United States. In the UK, embryonic editing may be permitted for research purposes with strict approvals. It is unknown whether the procedure is safe or, if used during pregnancy, whether it can have undesirable consequences for the babies later in life or in future generations.

  The researcher, the twins and the experiment that the geneticists say went too far [19659010] The researcher, the twins and the experiment, which geneticists say, went too far
China has invested heavily in gene editing technology, where the government bankrolls research in a row The world's "firsts", including the first use of the gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 in humans in 2016 and the first reported use of gene editing technology to modify minor human embryos in 2015.

& # 39; A number of bad decisions & # 39;

After the first results of the study reported by Xinhua, Yalda Jamshidi, reading in genomic medicine at St. George's, the University of London, said the Chinese investigators seemed to confirm that the birth of the redesigned twins was the result of "a series of poor decisions."

"Surprisingly, the experiments have been met Critically criticized, especially as the procedures used have not been tested for human safety and were not performed for any real medical need, "Jamshidi said in an e-mail statement. [19659004] "The report will hopefully set an example of appropriate legal and punitive measures to reassure the public and scientific community that re-editing as all potentially new medical interventions will only be allowed when addressing a genuine medical need and with appropriate ethical and regulatory supervision ", the statement added.

  Unethical Experiments & # 39; painful contributions to today's medicine

But Dr. Helen O'Neill, Neill, reproductive science program and women's health at University College London, had a more subdued response to recent outcomes.

"Reports do not throw much in the way of new light on history. There is no further clarification as to what measures need to be taken to prevent this in the future or what will be done as punishment for Han Jiankui lacking in policy , patients and science. "

Authorities in China said he and all other people or institutions involved will be" treated seriously in accordance with the law, and if they are suspected of crimes, they will be transferred to the public security agency, " according to Xinhua.

"For the born babies and pregnant volunteers, Guangdong Province will cooperate with relevant parties to carry out medical observation and follow-up visits under the direction of the relevant state de partments," said Xinhua, adding that born babies and pregnant volunteers will be monitored and followed up with under the guidance of relevant government departments.

CNN's Angus Watson, Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Meera Senthilingam contributed to this report.


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