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Second CRISPR-Modified Pregnancy May Be Underway

Second CRISPR-Modified Pregnancy May Be Underway

Chinese scientist He Jiankui speaks on the stage at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

China's government ordered a halt Thursday to work by a medical team that claimed to have helped make the world's first gene-edited babies, as a group of leading scientists declared that it's still too soon to try to make permanent changes to DNA that can be inherited by future generations. Still, that practice is surrounded by intense ethical debate, questions on the regulation of safety and is governed by laws in some countries; in the United Kingdom, it is illegal to gene edit human embryos over 14 days old.

Dr. Jennifer Doudna, co-inventor of the gene-editing tool that He allegedly used, told ABC News the scientific community is "struggling to understand" his claims.

He claims to have used the gene editing tool to bestow a trait that few people born naturally have, an ability to resist future infection with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS.

In a statement wrapping up the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong, the event's organizing board said He Jiankui's research was "irresponsible" and called for an assessment to "verify this claim and to ascertain whether the claimed DNA modifications have occurred".

He also said the university where he works had been "unaware of the study's conduct".

A Chinese scientist on Monday said he has created the world's first in a controversial medical procedure that threatens to shake the foundation of bioethics.

Washington Wizards' John Wall, Bradley Beal available in trade scenarios
The point guard is averaging 20.9 points, 7.9 assists and 2.0 steals through 16 games this season. Porter has a massive contract on the books, including three years and $81 million left.

The conference leader called Mr He's experiments "irresponsible", and said it provided evidence that the scientific community had failed to regulate itself to prevent premature efforts to alter human DNA.

But after He's presentation, conference Chairman David Baltimore said the research was not medically necessary, as there are other treatments for HIV. Embryos from seven couples were altered using CRISPR-Cas9, resulting in one twin pregnancy, He told the AP. The Southern China Morning Post reported that more than 120 Chinese scientists condemned the experiment as "crazy" and "unethical".

In a statement released Tuesday, the commission said that it had "immediately requested the Guangdong Provincial Health Commission to seriously investigate and verify" He's research.

According to reports from the Associated Press and the MIT Technology Review, researcher He Jiankui, an associate professor at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, and others recruited couples in China seeking in vitro fertilization.

"The volunteers were informed of the risk posed by the existence of one potential off-target and they made a decision to implant", He said Wednesday, as he was bombarded with questions about the trial.

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 risky and unjustified. "This is not just for this case, but for millions of children".

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