首例基因编辑婴儿消息传出,中国下令调查 China Orders Probe After Scientist Claims 1st Gene-Edited Babies

中国卫生和医学伦理当局周一开始调查一名科学家公布的消息,这名科学家在YouTube上发布视频说他改变了本月早些时候出生的一对双胞胎的基因,创造了第一例基因编辑婴儿。

科学家贺建奎在中国南方城市深圳的南方科技大学拥有副教授职称,该大学表示,不知道有这个研究项目,且贺建奎自二月以来他一直在无薪休假。

贺建奎为他自称已取得的成就辩护,他说进行基因编辑是为了帮助保护婴儿免受艾滋病病毒的感染

但是他所在的大学说此举“严重违反学术道德和标准”。世界各地的科学家们也都声讨这种骇人听闻和危险的行为。

中国国家卫生委员会表示对此事“高度关注”,并下令省卫生官员“立即调查并澄清此事”。

深圳市医学伦理委员会表示正在调查此案。据官方媒体“南方都市报”报道,广东省卫生委员会也正在调查此事。

贺建奎在周一发布的五个视频中表示,他使用了被称为CRISPR-Cas9的基因编辑技术来编辑双胞胎女孩的基因。他在一个YouTube视频中说,编辑基因的过程,他所称之为基因手术,是“按预期安全地进行”,由此诞生的双胞胎“和其他任何婴儿一样健康”。不过由于他没有提供此项研究的任何书面文件,无法对他的说法进行核实。

CRISPR-Cas9是一项让科学家可以切割和粘贴DNA的技术,这位为疾病基因修复带来了希望。但是,人们也担心这一做法的安全性和道德。

中国南方科技大学表示,贺建奎的无薪休假将一直到2021年。

贺建奎在早些时候发给路透社的电子邮件中说,他计划在本周的科学论坛上分享有关试验的数据。他表示,他还计划“很快通过同行评审程序,并通过预印本”。预印本是在研究结果在同行评审期刊上发表之前公布的文件。

贺建奎早先在接受路透社的电话采访和电子邮件中说,他的目标是赋予基因编辑的婴儿“终生”免受艾滋病病毒感染。

贺建奎表示他从2017年下半年开始工作,并招募了8对夫妇,所有未来的父亲都是艾滋病毒呈阳性。其中5人选择植入胚胎,包括双胞胎女孩的父母。贺建奎在一个视频中说,婴儿的名字是露露和娜娜。

Chinese health and medical ethics authorities started an investigation on Monday into claims by a scientist who released videos on YouTube saying he had altered the genes of twins born earlier this month, creating the first gene edited babies.

The Southern University of Science and Technology in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, where the scientist, He Jiankui, holds an associate professorship, said it had been unaware of the research project and that He had been on leave without pay since February.

He Jiankui defended what he claimed to have achieved, saying he had performed the gene editing to help protect the babies from future infection with the AIDS virus.

But his university said it was a "serious violation of academic ethics and standards" and scientists around the world condemned it as monstrous and dangerous.

China's National Health Commission said it was "highly concerned" and had ordered provincial health officials "to immediately investigate and clarify the matter".

Shenzhen's medical ethics committee said it was investigating the case. The Guangdong provincial health commission was also looking into it, according to Southern Metropolis Daily, a state media outlet.

He said in five videos posted on Monday that he used a gene-editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9 to edit the genes of twin girls. He said in one YouTube video that the editing process, which he called gene surgery, "worked safely as intended" and that the resulting twins were "as healthy as any other babies." It was impossible to verify the claims as He did not provide any written documentation of his research.

CRISPR-Cas9 is a technology that allows scientists to essentially cut-and-paste DNA, raising hope of genetic fixes for disease. However, there are also concerns about its safety and ethics.

China's Southern University of Science and Technology It said He is on unpaid leave until 2021.

In an earlier email to Reuters, He said that he planned to share data about the trial at a scientific forum this week. He said he planned for it to also go "through the peer review process, and through a pre-print soon." A pre-print is a publication of findings made before the research is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

In an earlier telephone interview and emails with Reuters, He said he was aiming to bestow on the gene edited babies "lifetime protection" against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

He said he began his work in the second half of 2017 and enrolled eight couples. All of the potential fathers involved were HIV-positive. Five chose to implant embryos, including the parents of the twin girls, identified only by the pseudonyms Mark and Grace. The babies' names are Lulu and Nana, He said in one video.