Russian Scientist Joins He Jiankui in Gene Editing Embryos

Monday, June 24, 2019 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , , , , ,

by Hilger, Correspondent

(Worthy News) – A Russian scientist will move ahead with gene editing babies, following in the footsteps of a Chinese scientist who attracted widespread condemnation in the scientific community for doing so in November 2018.

Dennis Rebrikov plans to disable the proteins in a CCR5 gene using the “CRISPR” method of gene editing, a ploy he hopes will prevent the contraction of HIV in embryos artificially implanted in the wombs of HIV-positive mothers.

“The data I have seen say it’s not that easy to control the way the DNA repair works,” said Jennifer Doudna, a molecular biologist at UC Berkley who pioneered CRISPR, suggesting the risk of unintended gene mutilations in the edited embryos–such as those leading to shortened life span and susceptibility to influenza–was high.

He Jiankui, the Chinese scientist who claimed to have successfully edited the genes of two baby girls in November of last year, was panned when he announced his experiment to the world by scientific authorities such as Francis Collins, a who helmed the mapping of the human genome.

“The need for development of binding international consensus on setting limits for this kind of research, now being debated in Hong Kong, has never been more apparent,” wrote Collins in his capacity of director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shortly after He’s announcement, calling the experiment an “epic scientific misadventure.”

“CRISPR,” short for “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats,” refers to naturally repeating sequences of DNA used by bacteria to cut off strands of DNA replicated by viruses, which scientists noticed had some utility for scrubbing genes of undesirable traits like proneness to certain diseases.

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