cloudy
Sunday December 9th, 2018 2:29PM

China halts work by team on gene-edited babies

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

HONG KONG (AP) — China's government ordered a halt Thursday to work by a medical team that claimed to have helped make the world's first gene-edited babies, as a group of leading scientists declared that it's still too soon to try to make permanent changes to DNA that can be inherited by future generations.

Chinese Vice Minister of Science and Technology Xu Nanping told state broadcaster CCTV that his ministry is strongly opposed to the efforts that reportedly produced twin girls born earlier this month. Xu called the team's actions illegal and unacceptable and said an investigation had been ordered, but made no mention of specific actions taken.

Researcher He Jiankui claims to have altered the DNA of the twins to try to make them resistant to infection with the AIDS virus. Mainstream scientists have condemned the experiment, and universities and government groups are investigating.

He's experiment "crossed the line of morality and ethics adhered to by the academic community and was shocking and unacceptable," Xu said.

A group of leading scientists gathered in Hong Kong this week for an international conference on gene editing, the ability to rewrite the code of life to try to correct or prevent diseases.

Although the science holds promise for helping people already born and studies testing that are underway, a statement issued Thursday by the 14-member conference leaders says it's irresponsible to try it on eggs, sperm or embryos except in lab research because not enough is known yet about its risks or safety.

The conference was rocked by the Chinese researcher's claim to have helped make the world's first gene-edited babies. Conference leaders called for an independent investigation of the claim by He, who spoke to the group Wednesday as international criticism of his claim mounted.

There is no independent confirmation of what He says he did. He was scheduled to speak again at the conference on Thursday, but he left Hong Kong and through a spokesman sent a statement saying "I will remain in China, my home country, and cooperate fully with all inquiries about my work. My raw data will be made available for third party review."

Several prominent scientists said the case showed a failure of the field to police itself and the need for stricter principles or regulations.

"It's not unreasonable to expect the scientific community" to follow guidelines, said David Baltimore, a Nobel laureate from California Institute of Technology who led the panel.

There already are some rules that should have prevented what He says he did, said Alta Charo, a University of Wisconsin lawyer and bioethicist and a conference organizer.

"I think the failure was his, not the scientific community," Charo said.

Gene editing for reproductive purposes might be considered in the future "but only when there is compelling medical need," with clear understanding of risks and benefits, and certain other conditions, said Dr. Victor Dzau, president of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, one of the conference sponsors.

"Not following these guidelines would be an irresponsible act," he added.

Other sponsors of the three-day conference are the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, the Royal Society of the United Kingdom and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

___

Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP Health - Children's Health, AP World News
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump says he wouldn't take Manafort pardon 'off the table'
President Donald Trump's remarks about a possible pardon for his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort are the latest sign of his disdain for the Russia investigation
7:29AM ( 19 minutes ago )
China halts work by team on gene-edited babies
A group of leading scientists has declared that it's still too soon to try making permanent changes to DNA that can be inherited by future generations, as a Chinese researcher claims to have done
7:27AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Global stocks gain after Fed chief hints rate rises may slow
Most global stock markets are higher after the chairman of the Federal Reserve indicated that the pace of interest rate increases might slow.
7:09AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Sprucing up NYC: Rockefeller Center lights Christmas tree
Thousands watched the lighting of a massive Norway spruce in a holiday tradition that ushers in Christmastime in New York City
5:44AM ( 2 hours ago )
Senators send rebuke to Saudis, Trump over Khashoggi killing
In a bipartisan vote, senators voted to move forward with legislation that would end U.S. involvement with a Saudi-led war in Yemen
5:18AM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump on Manafort pardon: 'I wouldn't take it off the table'
President Donald Trump's comment that a pardon for Paul Manafort is "not off the table" has drawn swift rebuke from critics who fear the president will use his executive power to protect friends and supporters caught up in the Russia probe
4:37AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
Asian stocks gain after Fed chief hits rate rises may slow
Asian stocks gain after U.S. Federal Reserve chairman suggests pace of rate increases might slow
11:21PM ( 8 hours ago )
Opioid case has new complication: Babies born in withdrawal
A federal judicial panel is considering whether babies born in opioid withdrawal should have their lawsuits separated from hundreds of other cases against the drug industry
10:54PM ( 8 hours ago )
Alumni pressure Dartmouth over handling of sex abuse claims
There is growing anger among Dartmouth alumni following revelations in a lawsuit that three professors harassed and abused female students in their department for years without being sanctioned
10:50PM ( 8 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
California court reverses ruling against assisted suicide
A California appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling that found the state's assisted suicide law was unconstitutional
7:36PM ( 12 hours ago )
Younger school entry could set stage for ADHD diagnosis
Study shows the youngest children in kindergarten more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
5:05PM ( 14 hours ago )
From Barron to casserole, first lady opens up on White House
First lady Melania Trump is sharing some details about life in the Trump White House, saying that son Barron is more interested in sports than social media and that she has no inclination to make casseroles
2:11PM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Health
US waived FBI checks on staff at growing teen migrant camp
A temporary, emergency detention camp that opened in the Texas desert in June for an overflow of migrant children shows no signs of closing.
12:31AM ( 1 day ago )
US nixed FBI checks on staff at migrant teen detention camp
A temporary, emergency detention camp that opened in the Texas desert in June for an overflow of migrant children shows no signs of closing.
1:41PM ( 1 day ago )
Q&A on scientist's bombshell claim of gene-edited babies
Claim of gene-edited births in China raise questions about how scientists use a powerful lab tool
5:38PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Health - Children's Health
3 Filipino policemen convicted of murder in brutal drug war
A Philippine court has found three police officers guilty of killing a student they alleged was a drug dealer, in the first known such conviction under the president's crackdown on drugs
6:23AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: NATO says has strong presence in Black Sea area
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she plans to press Russian President Vladimir Putin at this weekend's G-20 summit in Argentina about his country's seizure of three Ukrainian ships and their crews
6:05AM ( 1 hour ago )
German police search Deutsche Bank offices in tax haven case
German authorities searched the headquarters of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt and other offices on in connection with money laundering allegations uncovered in their analysis of online document leaks
6:02AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Trump says he wouldn't take Manafort pardon 'off the table'
President Donald Trump's remarks about a possible pardon for his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort are the latest sign of his disdain for the Russia investigation
7:29AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Global stocks gain after Fed chief hints rate rises may slow
Most global stock markets are higher after the chairman of the Federal Reserve indicated that the pace of interest rate increases might slow.
7:09AM ( 40 minutes ago )
The Latest: China halts work by team on gene-edited babies
China's government has ordered a halt to work by a medical team that claimed to have helped make the world's first gene-edited babies
7:09AM ( 40 minutes ago )
The Latest: Merkel not backing off Russia pipeline
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she's not backing off plans for a joint pipeline with Russia, but is pledging to ensure Ukraine remains a transit country for Russian natural gas.
7:06AM ( 43 minutes ago )
British diplomat says Yemen talks on next week in Stockholm
Britain's ambassador to Yemen says he's spoken with warring sides, expects them at peace talks next week in Sweden
6:33AM ( 1 hour ago )