I want to revisit the topic of ethics today because of a controversial story I’ve been following in the news; I was pretty shocked when I heard about this experiment, as was most of the scientific community. A scientist in China, Jiankui He, has claimed that he used CRISPR (a gene editing technique) to genetically modify twin girls during the process of in vitro fertilization. The first issue here is that experts don’t consider this technology to be safe to use on humans.
As more details about this have come out over the last couple of days, the story has gotten stranger. The hospital that supposedly approved the study claims to know nothing about it; and it remains unclear if the parents provided informed consent. There is some speculation that this may be a hoax as Dr. He went to the press without publishing his findings in a peer-reviewed journal. Though many scientists seem to be in agreement that he probably did attempt to edit the genome, but unsure if it worked.