If nothing else, this should scare the hell out of you: Chinese researcher claims to help create first genetically modified babies

Chinese researcher He Jiankui MARK SCHIEFELBEIN/AP

Chinese researcher He Jiankui announced late Sunday that he had helped create the world’s first genetically edited babies, twin girls born earlier in November.

If verified, this would be a big and controversial leap in science. He said he used a new gene-editing tool called CRISPR-cas9 to remove a gene called CCR5 from embryos fertilized in a lab, in an attempt to make the genetically modified children immune to HIV, the AIDS virus.

Most bioethicists and experts in the gene-editing field condemned the work as premature and morally indefensible. Several scientists who reviewed the research He released said his tests are insufficient to show the editing worked as intended or to rule out harm to the girls.

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