Scientists in China have created the first genetically engineered babies who they say are completely immune to the HIV virus.
Researchers in China used the CRISPR-based gene editing technique to create twins who are theoretically immune to HIV, smallpox, and cholera.
According to lead scientist He Jiankui of Shenzhen, the twins, named Lulu and Nana, were the result of in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The CRISPR/Cas9 system was derived from bacterial cells and allows scientists to make precise cuts in DNA. Cas9 is the enzyme that actually makes the cut, but it needs CRISPR DNA sequences as a guide to find the right location in a genome.
Researchers have used CRISPR in the lab to neuter disease-carrying mosquitoes, halt HIV replication inside cells, and engineer bacteria that can eat plastic.
There is no scientific consensus on the ethics of editing genes in human embryos for the purpose of reproduction, but now we may be seeing the world’s first “designer babies.”
According to He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, his team used CRISPR to edit the genes of human embryos that eventually became twin girls Lulu and Nana.
The change to the twins’ CCR5 gene causes their cells to carry a mutated form of the CCR5 protein. This mutation should protect them from HIV infection.https://newspunch.com/china-genetically-engineered-baby-immune-hiv/