Daniel Halliday
May 18 · Last update 8 days ago.
Was Dr. He Jiankui justified in using CRISPR/Cas9 technology in a human experiment?
In November 2018 biophysics researcher Dr He Jiankui claimed to have created the first genetically engineers babies, born the month previously. Through this experimental use of CRISPR/Cas9 technology Dr He faces strong criticism internationally. Is Dr He Jiankui a genetics pioneer or a cruel gambler, and was he justified in using CRISPR/Cas9 technology in a human experiment?
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Yes – Research and experimentation need to go ahead
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No, lack of consent, safety and ethics
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Yes – Research and experimentation need to go ahead

The advent of CRISPR/Cas9 as an affordable gene editing technology is too exciting to limit it legally as in the case of America and Europe, and now possibly in China to some degree also. Where it should be crucial to gain full consent in every use, the evolution and development of this technology on humans will inevitably only come from its use on humans. It’s too important a discovery to limit it for moral reasons, where current morally dire and unsolvable medical issues are causing immense suffering that could potentially be completely relieved though techniques such as this.

theguardian.com/science/2015/dec/02/why-human-gene-editing-must-not-be-stopped

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No, lack of consent, safety and ethics

This remains an experimental technology and there is a lack of research on human embryos, rendering Dr He Jiankui’s research a gamble at best, as he would have had no idea if this technology would work on as complex an organism as a human. Additionally consent seems to have been a massive issue in this research also, as misleading consent forms were used, and it is not clear how well the procedure and its lack of approval were explained to the parents before the experiment was carried out. The international science community, the Chinese government and even Doctor He’s university do not think that this is ethical, and he has subsequently lost his job and been placed under government surveillance as he awaits this case going to trial.

scienceretractions.wordpress.com/2019/01/17/why-is-he-jiankui-in-real-trouble-with-china-justice nytimes.com/2018/11/26/health/gene-editing-babies-china.html

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