Chinese scientist reveals third gene-edited baby?
A Chinese scientist is at the center of an ethical storm,... after claiming to have "made" the world's first "genetically edited" babies.
Despite the controversy surrounding his work,... he says he's proud of what he's achieved,... and even revealed a second "potential" pregnancy.
Lee Seung-jae reports.
He Jiankui sparked an immense international outcry after alleging to have helped create the world's first genetically edited babies.
After the first two babies,... he revealed another woman may be in the early stages of her genetically edited pregnancy.
He, an associate professor at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen,... addressed a crowd of 700 people at the Human Genome Editing Summit at the University of Hong Kong on Wednesday,... and said despite the controversy, he's proud of his work.
"For this specific case, I feel, I feel proud, actually. I feel proudest because Mark (father of twin girls reportedly whose embryonic genes altered in research) thought he lost hope for the life. But when the baby was born and with this protection, he sent a message at the day of the birth to say: 'I will work hard (to) earn money' and take care of his two daughters, and his wife, for his second half of his life."
He, who claims his work was self-funded,... downplayed concerns his highly controversial research was shrouded in secrecy,... explaining he was in close contact with the scientific community over the past three years.
He added the study was submitted to a scientific journal for review,... but did not name which one.
In a video posted online earlier this week,... the Chinese scientist said he used a gene-editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9 to alter the embryonic genes of twin girls born this month.
He said the gene editing process would help protect them from HIV.
The technology allows scientists to essentially cut and paste DNA,... raising hope of genetic fixes for disease.
However, the technology also comes with concerns over safety and ethics.
Meanwhile, Japanese gene therapists plan to issue a statement against the genome editing of fertilized human eggs,... in order to prevent further research on gene-edited babies. The Japan Society of Gene and Cell Therapy says genome editing is an incomplete technology, and could lead to unintended alterations,... which could affect future generations and human evolution.
Eight couples were initially enrolled in the study.
The criteria required the father to be HIV positive and the mother to be HIV negative. He says his findings could help millions of people with inherited diseases.