OUC Researchers respond to Jiankui He's controversial gene-editing experiment

Chinese researcher Jiankui He of Shenzhen claims to have gene edited two healthy embryos using CRISPR-Cas9 technology, resulting in the birth of twin baby girls born in November 2018.  He claims to have edited a gene to make the babies resistant to HIV, although one of the girls has both copies of the gene modified while the other has only one (making her still susceptible to HIV).  Addressing the ethical concerns surrounding this claim, OUC Researchers have responded in blog posts and media interviews:

Blogs

Savulescu, J., (2018), Monstrous Gene Editing ExperimentPractical Ethics in the News (26 November)

Savulescu, J., (2018), The Fundamental Ethical Flaw in Jiankui He’s Alleged Gene Editing Experiment,  Practical Ethics in the News (28 November)

TV and radio interviews

Devolder, K., (2018), Interviewed by Julian Worricker for BBC World Service Weekend episode 'The 80th Anniversary of the Kindertransport'. Dr Devolder discusses the ethical concerns surrounding Prof. Jiankui He's controversial gene-editing experiments (the gene-edited embryos resistant to HIV).  Dr Devolder's contribution appears at 39:00 on the clock - available on iPlayer until 30 December.  (2 December).

27 November. Interview with Julian Savulescu, ABC News (Australia) on birth of first gene edited babies.  

28 November 2018. Oxford bioethics expert: Gene editing itself is right, but healthy embryos should not take risks. Interview with Julian Savulescu on the case.  Jiemian News. Savulescu (in Chinese)

Quotes

Wilkinson, D., (2018), 'CRISPR-Cas9: a world first?', The Lancet, (Interviewed for Editorial), Vol: 392(10163): P2413. Available in The Lancet | ScienceDirect

2 December 2018. Dangerous Science in China. Japan Times. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

2 December 2018. Así serán los próximos niños modificados genéticamente. El Pais. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

2 December 2018. Kenan Malik. Don’t dismiss gene editing on account of one rogue case. The Guardian. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

1 December 2018. Genetics: World’s First Genetically Edited Babies Born In China, Scientist Claims. Kenyasasa. Quotes Julian Savulescu

1 December 2018. He did it: uproar over Chinese gene-edited babies. Bioedge, by Michael Cook. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

30 November 2018. Chinese scientists let eugenics out of the bottle. The Australian. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

30 November 2018. Unborn Babies are Killed When Scientists Edit Their Genes for Research. LifeNews.com. Quotes Julian Savulescu

29 November 2018. 'Gene-edited babies': China halts work of He Jiankui. BBC News. Quotes Julian Savulescu. 

29 November 2018. US Prof Probed Over Alleged Involvement in Spooky Gene Altering Experiment. Sputnik News. Quotes Julian Savulescu.  

28 November 2018. He Jiankui defends 'world's first gene-edited babies'. BBC News. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

27 November 2018. Chinese scientist claims world's first gene-edited babies, amid denial from hospital and international outcry. CNN. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

27 November 2018. China Orders Inquiry into Claims of World’s First Gene Edited Babies. Research Professional.com. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

27 November 2018. Monstrous: Aussie experts on 'edited' bubs. Daily Mail. Quotes Julian Savulescu. 27 November 2018. Chinese University to Launch Investigation After Don Says he had Edited Twins. Business Times (Singapore). Quotes Julan Savulescu.  

27 November 2018, FrankenBaby, The Sun, p.17, Shaun Wooller. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

27 November 2018. Outrage at scientist's 'monstrous' gene editingThe Daily Telegraph, p.15, Sarah Knapton . Quotes Julian Savulescu. 

27 November 2018. Gene-edited babies claim. The Daily Mirror, p.15. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

27 November 2018. Chinese scientist claims first 'designer babies' bornThe Independent Daily Edition, p.14, Josh Gabbatiss. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

26 November 2018. China orders investigation after scientist claims first gene-edited babies. Reuters. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

26 November 2018. Chinese university to investigate after academic claims to have edited twins'' genes. Channel NewsAsia online. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

26 November 2018. China orders investigation after scientist claims world''s first gene-edited babies. Hindustan Times online, Alexandra Harney. Quotes Julian Savulescu. 

26 November 2018. Chinese scientist claims to have edited babies' genesABC Online Australia online. Quotes Julian Savulescu. 

26 November 2018. ''MONSTROUS'' scientist ''makes world's first gene-edited babies'' in HIV test. Daily Express online. Quotes Julian Savulescu.  

26 November 2018 World’s first gene-edited babies created in China, claims scientist. The Guardian. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

26 November 2018. Genome-edited baby claim provokes international outcry. Nature. Quotes Julian Savulescu. 

26 November 2018. World’s first gene-edited babies announced by a scientist in China. New Scientist. Quotes Julian Savulescu.  

26 November 2018. ‘World’s First Genetically Editied Babies’ Reignite Debate Around Lax DNA Rules in China. The Telgraph UK. Quotes Julian Savulescu.

26 November 2018. Mystery surrounds researcher’s claim to have produced world’s first genetically-edited babies. Irish Times. Quotes Julian Savulescu.   

 

For other resources on CRISPR gene-editing, including free open access papers, see our Enhancement page.

List of site pages