Saturday , April 17 2021

Scientists: The world is not ready for gene-edited babies

A group of leading scientists said it was too early to try to make permanent changes to DNA that future generations can inherit, as the Chinese researcher claims.

Scientists have gathered in Hong Kong this week at an international conference on genetic engineering, the ability to rewrite the code of life by trying to correct or prevent diseases.

Although science holds a promise to assist people already born, a statement issued Thursday by 14 member states says it is irresponsible to try eggs, sperm, or embryos because it is not yet sufficiently aware of its risks or safety.

The conference was shaken by a Chinese researcher's assertion that he helped create the first genetically modified baby in the world, two girls who said they were born earlier this month. The leaders of the conference called for an independent investigation into the lawsuit by He Jiankui of Šenjer, who spoke on Wednesday with an international criticism of his lawsuit.

Strict principles or regulations

Several prominent scientists reported that the case showed field failure to be a police and need for more stringent principles or regulations.

There are already some rules that should prevent it, said Alta Charo, a lawyer and bio-scientist at the University of Wisconsin and the organizer of the conference.

"I think the failure was his, not a scientific community," Charo said.

The three-day conference under the patronage of the Academy of Sciences in Hong Kong, the Royal Society of Great Britain and the American Academy of Sciences and the American National Academy of Medical Sciences.

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