Shawna William’s article “Crispr Babies Trial May Have Been Government Funded” on The Scientist speaks about how the most recent update on the Chinese experiment with Crispr. Scientist He Jiankui and his team came out with the new information that his experiment, which used CRISPR on the embryos of two twin girls, was funded by the government of Guangdong Province. CRISPR uses enzymes from bacteria to “edit” (aka alter) genomes of organisms to correct mutations. This technology is groundbreaking as it can be used to control the DNA of future generations. This article, in particular, focuses on the crucial point that this new information contradicts the findings of the government’s own investigation along Jiankui’s previous claims and then proceeds to evaluate all parts of this experiment.
MIT Technology Review and the Associated Press reported in November that He modified the CCR5 gene in embryos in order to ensure that the children will be immune to HIV. One neurobiologist, Alcino Silva believes that this altering this gene has impacted the CRISPR babies and their ability to recover from strokes and better cognition, while others like geneticist Gaetan Burgio of the Australian National University believe that this study is completely wrong. Considering Burgio disputed this study over twitter instead of using a more valid outlet through publications like The Scientist, I personally do not believe that his dispute of Silva’s claim is valid. Moreover, I believe that it is extremely important that further investigation of whether the Chinese government was involved must continue. If it can be proven that the government funded this research, I truly believe that worldwide bureaucratic branches must become involved in order to reinforce that the Chinese government must uphold science ethics. Although this new tool will definitely be used to benefit the Experiments like He’s can be detrimental to everyone involved.