Genetic modifications made by He Jiankii to three Chinese children were hailed as immoral and non-toxic by the scientific world. Now, finally, we have a decisive response from the government there.
We would like to remind you that He Jiankui, a biotechnologist until recently working at the South China University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, has made genetic modifications in children. His goal was to improve them. With the help of the powerful biotechnology tool of recent years, CRISPR-Cas9, the CCR5 gene has been removed from their embryos, the lack of which in the human genome results in complete resistance to HIV infection and increased intellectual performance.
His research was kept secret from both the university authorities and the parents of the children and the government. When Jiankui himself announced this to the world in electronic media, a wave of controversy over his actions flooded our planet. The Chinese government immediately imprisoned the scientist in house arrest and even announced that he would face the death penalty. However, only now, after nearly 9 months from the disclosure of this practice, the country’s authorities decided to introduce a new law that will regulate these issues.
As we might have expected, from now on all biotechnology companies and institutions operating throughout the country will be extremely closely monitored in terms of performing experiments on humans, namely embryos and stem cells, and the use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology, together with its derivatives. This means that there will be no more genetic modifications to humans that are not controlled by governmental institutions.
He Jiankui, after a series of experiments, wanted to start mass production of genetically modified children on request. He was to do it with the help of domestic and foreign companies. The most important aspect of his work was to increase children’s intellectual ability, resistance to HIV, heart disease and the entire cardiovascular system, as well as to eliminate all genetic defects. In the future, along with the development of genetics, the scientist was to successively expand his offer to improve children. Apparently, in Asia, such services can enjoy the enormous interest of future parents who want their children to stand out from others by something extraordinary.
Jiankii’s visions have now become a thing of the past. The purpose of the new Chinese government law is simple and understandable. It is about preventing mass experiments carried out by self-proclaimed gods, which are associated with the mass death of living beings and can lead to the formation of genetic defects extremely dangerous to humanity. However, the government does not intend to completely give up or block such experiments. However, they will be strictly controlled and conducted in the most secure, thought-out and predictable manner, and above all, ethical and moral.