Photo credit: Daily Mail
Scientists have discovered a relatively easy way to edit genes in recent years using a tool called CRISPR-cas9, which makes it possible to operate on DNA to supply a needed gene or disable one that’s causing problems. Chinese scientist He Jiankui of Shenzhen claims to have the altered embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting thus far, resulting in twin girls who now have an ability to resist possible future infection with HIV, the AIDS virus. Read more for another video on gene editing and additional information.
Jiankui said he practiced gene editing mice, monkey and human embryos in the lab for several years and has applied for patents on his methods. The researcher chose embryo gene editing for HIV because these infections are a big problem in China, so he sought to disable a gene called CCR5 that forms a protein doorway that allows HIV to enter a cell.
“I feel a strong responsibility that it’s not just to make a first, but also make it an example. Society will decide what to do next,” He told the AP, in terms of allowing or forbidding such science.