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American scientist played more active role in ‘CRISPR babies’ project than previously known – STAT (Jane Qiu | January 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on February 11, 2019
 

BEIJING — An American scientist at Rice University was far more involved in the widely condemned “CRISPR babies” experiment than has previously been disclosed. Most notably, STAT has learned that Rice biophysicist Michael Deem was named as the senior author on a paper about the work that was submitted to Nature in late November.

Deem’s prominent authorship indicates that a respected American researcher played an instrumental role in the controversial project, which sparked a worldwide furor. His involvement could have encouraged volunteers to join the experiment and lent credibility to He Jiankui, the Chinese scientist who led the work.

Emails provided to STAT show that Deem was listed as the last author — which, in the life sciences, is typically reserved for the senior researcher who oversees a study. The paper, titled “Birth of twins after genome editing for HIV resistance,” has another nine contributors, including He as the first author, where the person who makes the most hands-on contribution is credited.

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CRISPR-baby scientist fired by university – Nature (David Cyranoski | January 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on February 11, 2019
 

Investigation by Chinese authorities finds He Jiankui broke national regulations in his controversial work on gene-edited babies

The scientist who announced last year that he had produced the world’s first gene-edited babies has been fired by his university.

The decision, announced on 21 January by the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, in China’s Guandong province, follows an investigation into He Jiankui’s work by provincial health authorities.

A probe by the Guangdong health ministry found that He broke national regulations against using gene-editing for reproductive purposes, Chinese state media agency Xinhua reported on 21 January.

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Scientist Who Used Gene Editing On Human Embryos Likely To Face Criminal Charges In China – KHN (January 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on February 11, 2019
 

China acknowledged the births and the fate of He Jiankui for the first time Monday. The Chinese ministry said it “resolutely opposed He’s work,” but the global science community argues He’s case underscores China’s lack of updated laws governing genetic research.

The New York Times: Scientist Who Edited Babies’ Genes Is Likely To Face Charges In China
A Chinese scientist who claimed to have created the world’s first genetically edited babies “seriously violated” state regulations, according to the results of an initial government investigation reported on Monday by Chinese state media. The investigators’ findings indicate that the scientist, He Jiankui, and his collaborators are likely to face criminal charges. (Ramzy and Wee, 1/21)

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(US) ‘Three Identical Strangers’: The high cost of experimentation without ethics – The Washington Post (Barron H. Lerner | January 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on February 10, 2019
 

On Sunday night, CNN will air “Three Identical Strangers,” a documentary about an experiment in which adopted twins and triplets were secretly separated. Viewers will probably be appalled as they learn about the emotional damage these individuals experienced as a result of their forced separation. But this medical experiment was not exceptional: It was just one of many unethical studies in the 1950s and 1960s that used subjects as means to an end.

Another shocking research project from the US (1955-70) that demonstrates the Nuremberg war trials and publication of the Nuremberg Code didn’t end egregious ethical lapses. We have added links to some related items.

Injunctions against unethical research go back at least to the mid-19th century, when the French scientist Claude Bernard admonished his fellow investigators never to do an experiment that might harm a single person, even if the result would be highly advantageous to science and the health of others. Yet despite Bernard’s admonition, the next century was replete with experiments that put orphans, prisoners, minorities and other vulnerable populations at risk for the sake of scientific discovery. Medical progress often came at too high a human cost, something the CNN documentary exposes.
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Human experimentation surged during World War II as American scientists raced to find treatments for diseases encountered on the battlefield. This experimental enthusiasm continued into the Cold War years, as the United States competed with the Soviet Union for scientific knowledge. In both eras, a utilitarian mind-set trumped concerns about research subjects.
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