Monday, 17 December, 2018

Ever gene-edited human babies might resist HIV, claims Chinese scientist

Chinese Researcher Claims First Genetically Modified Babies Have Been BornCC0 Chinese Researcher Claims First Genetically Modified Babies Have Been BornCC0
Kristen Harrington | 28 November, 2018, 02:04

The committee organizing the Hong Kong conference where He is due to speak - the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing - said in a statement on Monday it had only just been informed of He's work on the genes of the twin girls.

No one knows exactly how He Jiankui, on leave from Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, did it. Scientists gathered in Hong Kong at an worldwide summit on human genome editing will have to wait until Wednesday to hear He describe his work in more detail. He said the twins were born a few weeks ago, though the births have yet to be verified.

Even without any independent confirmation, as the Chinese researchers are not willing to release information regarding the family, their claims have sparked strong criticism.

He said that, as there now existed a convenient and practical method to prevent HIV infection, using genome editing for preventive purposes was like "using a cannon to shoot a bird". An American scientist, Michael Deem of Rice University, also worked on the project. Gene editing on humans is banned in the USA, notes the report, because modifying genes and making changes in the DNA could possibly move from one generation to the next and there is an ever-present threat to the health of other genes as well.

In this October 9, 2018 photo, Zhou Xiaoqin, left, loads Cas9 protein and PCSK9 sgRNA molecules into a fine glass pipette as Qin Jinzhou watches at a laboratory in Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong province.

In interviews, He Jiankui defended his work. In one of those videos, He strongly objects to calling children whose genes have been edited "designer babies" and answers his own question, "Why HIV?" with "safety and value", noting that 100 million people have a "natural genetic variation" in the gene CCR5 that he altered with what he calls "gene surgery".

"No gene was changed except the one to prevent HIV infection", He said in the video, adding that the girls are as safe and healthy as any other babies. "Society will decide what to do next", he said.

Ariana Grande Teases 'thank u, next' Video With Star-Studded Cast
In a short preview of the video, the 25-year-old superstar perfectly parodies one of the most iconic scenes from Mean Girls . She's dealt with the passing of Mac Miller , her failed engagement to Pete Davidson, and everything in between.

"Grossly premature and deeply unethical", is how noted USA bioethicist Henry Greely of Stanford University characterised the claim.

He had apparently been on leave from the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen.

When He's claims became public, the university issued a statement saying his work had "seriously violated academic ethics and standards". University officials said they had no knowledge of his research and had launched an investigation. An investor relations representative for Harmonicare Medical said it is investigating the researcher's claims when reached by telephone Tuesday.

A worker places an embryo in a storage tube at a laboratory in Shenzhen.

On Monday, China's National Health Commission ordered an immediate investigation by local authorities in Shenzhen and Guangdong province, according to Xinhua.

"Not only do I see this as risky, but I am also deeply concerned about the lack of transparency", said Zhang, a scientist at MIT's Broad Institute.

In recent years scientists have discovered a relatively easy way to edit genes, the strands of DNA that govern the body. Feng Zhang, one of the inventors of CRISPR editing, has called for a global moratorium on using the technology to create gene-edited babies.

Manafort reportedly met with Julian Assange when he joined Trump campaign
Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, denies any involvement in the email hack and his lawyers declined to comment to the Guardian .

So far the tool has only been used on adults to treat deadly diseases, and the changes only affected that person. Editing sperm, eggs or embryos is different because such changes can be passed down.

That type of gene editing is banned in the USA except in lab research.

"It's a somber moment because gene editing is a technology of tremendous promise and potential", Fyodor Urnov, associate adjunct professor of genetics at the University of California, Berkeley, told The Washington Times.

The particular method used is common in lab research but not precise or controlled enough for embryos, said Columbia University cell biologist Dietrich Egli, who called it "essentially genome vandalism". It's not clear if the participants understood the true nature of the experiment, which was described as an "AIDS vaccine development" program.

Mr He says he was able to neutralise a gene called CCR5, which forms a protein doorway that enables HIV to enter a cell. He told the AP that since HIV is "a major and growing public health threat" he finds such experiments "justifiable".

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports by the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

Elon Musk says there's a '70 percent' chance he'll move to Mars
SpaceX aspires to send its first cargo mission to Mars in 2022, according to its website, with a manned mission targeted for 2024. So ... there's a good chance you die there.

Recommended

Video gamer arrested after online player overhears rape, police say Video gamer arrested after online player overhears rape, police say The news station is reporting that he is also charged with raping another teen on June 4, weeks before the most recent case. It's not clear whether the other gamer on the Playstation network was the one who reported Fabian to police, WFLA reports.

Trump, Kudlow play hardball with Barra and GM over planned cuts Trump, Kudlow play hardball with Barra and GM over planned cuts Ford said in April it planned to stop building almost all cars in North America, preferring to focus on SUVs and pickup trucks. GM complains that Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum have cut into the company's profits this year.

Australian Steer Stands at 6 Feet 3 Inches Australian Steer Stands at 6 Feet 3 Inches The 7-year-old Holstein-Friesian is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 3,086 pounds. But as impressive as he is, Knickers isn't the largest cow in the world.

Refunds promised after tech glitch on Woods-Mickelson live stream Refunds promised after tech glitch on Woods-Mickelson live stream And the more you hear him talk, the more you watch him play when things are going well, the less insane it sounds. Mickelson then squared it with a birdie on the par-3 13th and retook the lead when Woods bogeyed the par-4 15th.

Pilot falls asleep and misses destination by almost 50km Pilot falls asleep and misses destination by almost  50km The last incident involving a pilot error in Australia took place past year when 5 people were killed in a crash in Melbourne. It said: "The issue became apparent when air traffic control was unable to contact the pilot in-flight".

River Plate face disqualification from Copa Libertadores final River Plate face disqualification from Copa Libertadores final The showdown between the fierce Buenos Aires rivals was billed as the greatest final in the competition's 58-year history. Several players were injured as rocks, bottles and wood were hurled at the vehicle, shattering windows.

Stephen Hillenburg, creator of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants,’ dies at 57 Stephen Hillenburg, creator of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants,’ dies at 57 From 1993 to 1996, he would pursue work in television as a director and writer on Nickelodeon's series " Rocko's Modern Life ". The cast included Jeffrey Tambor, Scarlett Johansson, Alec Baldwin, David Hasselhoff.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro launched in India: Price, specs and more Huawei Mate 20 Pro launched in India: Price, specs and more While the device supports expandable storage, it actually comes with the custom NM card (Nano MicroSD card) support. It's quite similar to the Mate 20 Pro , except it comes with a leather back and improved RAM/storage options.

Trump talks tough to China before G20 meeting Trump talks tough to China before G20 meeting Japan's Nikkei managed to edge up 0.4 per cent, but MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was all but flat. To discuss China-U.S. relations amidst a trade war: Zhao Hai is a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Wikileaks betting ‘$1mn & editor’s head’ against Guardian claims that Manafort met Assange The New York Times reported in August that Manafort had received undisclosed payments from former Ukrainian President Viktor F. Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort has allegedly violated his plea deal; panel reacts.

Davis Cup: Marin Cilic seals victory for Croatia vs France Davis Cup: Marin Cilic seals victory for Croatia vs France Cilic withstood nearly one-sided support in the stadium for another break before building a 4-2 lead midway through the third set. A booming forehand gave Cilic three match points as Pouille could only return it into net.

It's nearly certain the Moto G7 family will adopt the notch It's nearly  certain the Moto G7 family will adopt the notch Along with the listing at FCC, Motorola also included a handful of pictures showing the Moto G7 Play's front and back. Cellular connectivity is looking like it'll mostly be limited to the GSM carriers here, like T-Mobile and AT&T.

USA service members killed in Afghanistan USA  service members killed in Afghanistan The casualties come just days after another USA soldier was killed in Afghanistan's Nimroz province on Saturday. Since the start of 2015, 58 Americans have been killed, President Ashraf Ghani said earlier this month.

Afghan official says death toll in mosque blast climbs to 27 Afghan official says death toll in mosque blast climbs to 27 Brent Taylor of the Army National Guard was killed during an insider attack in Kabul that also injured another USA servicemember. He said two other soldiers were wounded when the helicopter caught fire after landing.

Microsoft tops Apple as world's most valuable company Microsoft tops Apple as world's most valuable company Microsoft's market capitalization has reportedly reached $812 billion, while Apple's market cap was lower by $1 billion. Global demand for smartphones has slowed in recent years, making it more hard for Apple to increase its revenue.