News World Chinese geneticist apologises for leak of baby-gene editing result

Chinese geneticist apologises for leak of baby-gene editing result

A Chinese scientist at the centre of a controversy over what he claims are the world’s first genetically edited children apologised on Wednesday for the result being leaked unexpectedly as he detailed his findings at a conference in Hong Kong. He Jiankui, an associate professor at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, addressed a packed hall of around 700 people attending the Human Genome Editing Summit at the University of Hong Kong.

“First, I must apologise that this result was leaked unexpectedly. This study has been submitted to a scientific journal for review,” He said. He did not name the journal and said his university was unaware of his study.

In videos posted online this week, He said he used a gene-editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9 to alter the embryonic genes of twin girls born this month.

He defended the work, saying gene editing would help protect the girls from infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

But scientists and the Chinese government have denounced the work that He said he carried out, and a hospital linked to his research suggested its ethical approval had been forged.

The conference moderator, Robin Lovell-Badge, said the summit organisers were unaware of the story until it broke this week.

CRISPR-Cas9 is a technology that allows scientists to essentially cut and paste DNA, raising hope of genetic fixes for disease. However, there are concerns about safety and ethics.

More than 100 scientists, most in China, said in an open letter on Tuesday the use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to edit the genes of human embryos was dangerous and unjustified. “Pandora’s box has been opened,” they said.

He’s research focuses on genome sequencing technology, bioinformatics and genome editing, according to his biography on the summit’s website.

He received his PhD at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in Stephen Quake lab at Stanford University according to the site.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Drop in new covid cases and hospitalised, 202 and one death

  Cyprus recorded one covid-19 death over the past 24 hours, raising the number of victims to 167, 111 men and 56 women with an...

Rapid test locations on Sunday

  Here are the rapid test locations for Sunday January 17 Limassol Tassos Papadopoulos Building-Technical University Limassol (corner of Ifigeneias and Themidos) 8.30-04.30 Ayia Varvara Church Zakaki 9.00-04.30 Ayios Stylianos Church,...

Low visibility on highways as bad weather continues

  Visibility is very low on the Larnaca-Nicosia and Nicosia-Limassol highways, with the network near the Mosfiloti area becoming waterlogged. Police are calling on drivers to...

Explainer: Can Trump pardon himself? Would the courts reject the move?

  As he prepares to end a tumultuous four years as U.S. president facing potential legal jeopardy, Donald Trump has discussed the possibility of pardoning...

U.S. state capitals on edge for armed protests as Trump presidency nears end

  U.S. law enforcement officials are gearing up for pro-Trump marches in all 50 state capitals this weekend, erecting barriers and calling in their National...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...