Chinese scientist He Jiankui said that he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies – twin girls born this month whose DNA he altered with a powerful new tool capable of resisting possible future infection with HIV, the AIDS virus, according to People’s Daily.
He revealed it in Hong Kong, one day ahead of an international conference on gene editing that is scheduled from Tuesday to Thursday.
He’s team used the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing tool that makes it possible to precisely locate and operate on DNA to supply a needed gene or disable one that’s causing problems.
However, AP news agency said that the announcement could not be independently confirmed, as the it has not been published in a journal, as usually done for any successful research. AP had an exclusive interview with the scientist earlier.
Gene-editing can also easily raise moral and ethical problems. Some scientists condemned such “experiment on human beings,” while others, including one famed geneticist, Harvard University’s George Church, defended the attempting of gene editing for HIV, calling it “justifiable”.