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Thursday, March 14, 2019

China will punish genetic experiments that "violate laws and ethical principles"


China announced today that it will "firmly" punish those responsible for a case that "violates the laws and regulations" of the country as well as "ethical principles", referring to human embryos allegedly genetically engineered by Chinese scientist He Jiankui.
The Deputy Director of the National Health Commission of China, Zeng Yixin, said in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV) that departments and governments local laws "are investigating the case" and that "the offenders will be punished resolutely. 
With the rapid development of science and technology, scientific research and application must be more responsible and must follow ethical and technical standards," said Zeng.
In addition, the Chinese Vice Minister of Science and Technology, Xu Nanping, told the same chain today that his portfolio will face the experiment and announced that all related research activities have been halted.
"It goes against the law and ethics. It is unacceptable, "he said.
Meanwhile, Huai Jinpeng, secretary of the party of the Chinese Association of Science and Technology, expressed today to the same chain his opposition to the experiment and said that the organism will give "all its support" to the investigations of the authorities.
Researcher Wang Haoyi of the Chinese Academy of Sciences also condemned the experiment today during an interview with CCTV, saying the case has "seriously altered" the basis of scientific research and damaged China's reputation in this field.
"It does not represent us. I would not even call him a scientist. He is a ruthless person who knows very little about science and who did a very irresponsible experiment on a human being, "said Wang.
"First you have to confirm everything you said. And we must protect the privacy of the babies, but follow them closely to make sure they can have a normal and healthy life, "he added.
Chinese scientist He Jiankui said on Monday he had created the first genetically modified babies in the world without any institutional support, and yesterday justified his experiment despite the doubts and controversies he has generated among the population and the scientific community inside and outside China. .
During his speech yesterday at the University of Hong Kong, the scientist was "proud" of the use of the genetic editing technique CRISPR / Cas9 in two twins and stressed that the study was not aimed at eliminating genetic diseases, but " Give girls the natural ability "to resist a possible future HIV infection.
On Monday, the University of Shenzhen in which he worked He announced that he will investigate the scientist and was "deeply shocked by the case", which he described as "a serious violation of ethics and academic standards."
More than 120 academics from the Chinese scientific community said the same day in a statement issued on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, that "any attempt" to make changes in human embryos through genetic modifications is "crazy" and that giving giving birth to these babies carries "a high risk."
Globally, the journal Nature joined the debate and argued that the announcement has caused "outrage" among the international scientific community and that, if true, "would represent a significant leap in the use of the modification of the human genome.

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