AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Forbidden Baby Editing

We all at this point in life have come to know what gene editing is. The technology for it is slowly and forever becoming more and more advanced. The scary thing about editing genes is the fact that we have to potentially affect a baby’s life their entire time alive. It has many different problems which is why its going to take a long time for it to fully get approved in the hospital.

Well unfortunately in an article found here there was a fright to figure out that someone had actually edited the genomes of some babies without people knowing. Many scientists condemned scientist He Jianku as it came to light that he had done something that the science was not ready for yet. He used CRISPR Cas9 tech in order to alter some genes of a few babies. The definition of CRISPR is here but basically it is a general tech to edit the genomes of babies that haven’t been born yet. People were up in arms about the process because he had bypassed the ethical laws and needed up editing the genes of a real live human. People in the science community go on to say that the CRISPR technology just isn’t ready to be executed on a human. There needs to be many more trials before it is used on a person for real. There is progress to make sure this doesn’t happen such as fines and bans from research however they are trying to make sure that it doesn’t happen at all. It gives scientists a bad name and he is trying his best to not let that happen. Technology will always advance and the hard part is trying to make sure that tech is ethical. Hopefully this gives insight to how we can prevent things like this happening in this day and age

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  1. nukellyicacid

    The use of CRISPR to edit genes in the DNA sequence in order to produce favorable outcomes is still a relatively risky process. A lot more research and investigations into He Jiankui’s attempts have to be completed to track the effects gene editing has on humans. After He revealed his experiment, more laws have been implemented to create greater restrictions on the use of CRISR. However, another new procedure called mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT), has been used to correct genetic defects and boost success in pregnancies. The article below goes more in depth into that and also provides an overview of human gene editing.

  2. devoxyribonucleicacid

    Really interesting article, tayega. I also do believe that Jianku’s actions were very unethical, since the parents should have known about his practice. However, when reading this article, I wondered if he used this technology to prevent a disease or just to edit the genomes for another purpose. I found a page on Bio News ( that explains the aftermath of his experiment and talks about his true purpose, which was to make them resistant to HIV. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison and shocked the world when he first announced that the babies’ genomes were edited. Because of Jianku’s actions, the Chinese government announced new laws regarding innovative technologies. The debate about the ethic of this experiment still stands as a posing question to me.

    • @YusRNA

      @Tayega, this is a fascinating article! It’s really crazy how the changing of our genes to prevent diseases that many could only dream of is now a reality, and not just black and white. It really goes to show how what we want isn’t necessarily always good for us. @devoxyribonucleicacid I see what you’re saying that Jianku may have done something unethical. You are also right that we should question whether he was doing this solely for personal gain or to save the child from a potentially fatal disease. I think that a new question we should ask is should fetuses have rights to have us protect their health before they are born by making mandatory STRICTLY DISEASE RELATED preventative genetic editing mandatory in order to protect the objective health and wellbeing of a future citizen of the world. This link further explores this idea: Today, many schools have made vaccinations mandatory. When vaccinations first came out this idea probably seemed quite far-fetched. That is why I believe that it is quite probable that genetic editing will become mandatory as well, if not legally, socially.

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