Genome Editing Summit Organizers Condemns Gene-Edited Baby Claims
By Mei Manuel, November 29, 2018 23:11 PM
On Thursday, the organizers of the conference where a Chinese scientist claimed he edited the genes of twin babies, calling it "deeply disturbing" and "irresponsible."
In the statement released, the organizers of the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, held in Hong Kong, said that "Even if the modifications are verified, the procedure was irresponsible and failed to conform with international norms."
The statement also called for an independent assessment of Chinese scientist He Jiankui's claims on Wednesday that he used a gene-editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9 to edit the genes of twins born early this month.
He's claims, which has not yet been verified, triggered international outrage about the ethics and safety of the research.
Chinese scientists have already condemned the work. Southern University of Science and Technology, where He is on leave from his position as an associate professor, has announced an investigation as well.
The Guangdong province Health Commission said on its website on Wednesday that they and Shenzhen city medical commission had set up a team to investigate the case. He's filing to a Chinese clinical trials database indicates that a hospital did an ethical review of the project, but the hospital involved denied that its ethics review committee ever met to discuss the work.
He said after his presentation on Wednesday he was proud of what he had done and even said
The presidents of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the U.S. National Academy of Medicine (NAM) also expressed concern about He's work. Their statement was emailed on Thursday but dated on Tuesday.
"The events in Hong Kong this week clearly demonstrate the need for us to develop more specific standards and principles that can be agreed upon by the international scientific community," NAS president Marcia McNutt and NAM president Victor Dzau wrote on the statement.
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