Chinese researchers used CRISPR — specific bacterial and archaeal loci — to genetically alter human embryos. This led to the birth of healthy twins, who received the code name “Lulu” and “Nana”. The goal of scientists was to create people immune to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – the causative agent of AIDS.
The experiment was conducted under the direction of Jiankuya He, a scientist from the South University of Science and Technology Shenzhen. According to him, the study involved seven childless couples, of which only one successfully passed the artificial conception. Scientists have already fertilized the egg, where the seed donor was a carrier of HIV, and genetically modified it, “disabling” the CCR5 gene, the presence of which in the body leads to infection with human immunodeficiency virus. It is reported that all the men who participated in the experiment underwent antiviral therapy, so the risk of transmitting the disease to the child was minimal.
The only proof of the success of the experiment is a video published by Jianki He himself, where he talks about the study. At the moment, the real names of the parents are not disclosed. Are kept secret and any tests, as well as research results. For this reason, many experts mistrust the project. In addition, there are many opponents of the genetic modification of people who consider it immoral and unethical.
It is expected that this event will be the main theme of the second international summit on the change of the human genome, which starts in Hong Kong on November 27.