Researchers warn that genetically modified Chinese CRISPR babies may have mental "super powers" – RT World News


The genetically modified Chinese twins born HIV-resistant last year could also have mental "super powers" that their creator kept silent – a cognitive superiority that could trigger a genetic arms race, according to a new study.

Lulu and Nana, the genetically modified Chinese twins who would be born resistant to HIV through the CRISPR gene editing tool, could also be born with significantly higher mental abilities related to the same modified gene. New research has confirmed that suppressing the CCR5 gene – the same modification that is done to girls' DNA – dramatically improves cognition, learning and memory in mice and humans.

Also on
"Breathtaking Moment": Scientists discover a new mysterious communication mechanism in the brain

"The answer is probably yes, it affected their brains," The neurobiologist at the University of California at Los Angeles, Alcino Silva, told MIT Technology Review after publishing an article demonstrating the beneficial role of disabling CCR5 in this week's stroke recovery.

"These mutations will likely have an impact on cognitive function in twins, "But the effect is unpredictable," he said, and "that's why this should not be done. "

He Jiankui, a researcher at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, made headlines in November after claiming that his team had created the first HIV-resistant babies by removing the CCR5 gene from human embryos in China. CRISPR help, then implanting them in women.

"My reaction [to the birth of CCR5-deactivated twins] was visceral repulsion and sadnessSilva said, pointing out that his research on the connection between CCR5 and cognition had made it a lightning rod for Silicon Valley-hungry types of ultra-intelligent baby designers and that he was concerned about the beginning of the Genetic arms race.

Also on
Editing genes: what is it and should we worry?

But the Chinese researcher insisted that it was not his intention. "I am against the use of genome editing for improvementHe said at a genetics conference a week after the twins' birth, although he admitted to being aware of research on the effects of disabling CCR5 on the brain. speculation about his motives, he would have disappeared shortly after the conference.His experience appears to have violated China's ban on the use, for reproductive purposes, of genetic modification in human embryos, and the government has promised to punish those responsible after learning of the birth of Lulu and Nana.

Also on
A doctor behind genetically modified babies acted alone and will be punished, according to Chinese authorities

Silva co-authored the first published study linking CCR5 to cognition in 2016, showing that mice without CCR5 had significantly improved memory on 140 other genetic modifications. He observed the rapidly changing field of clinical trials in patients with stroke and in those with cognitive decline related to HIV. But, he saysthere is a big difference between trying to correct deficits in these patients and trying to create an improvement."

We simply do not know what the consequences of these failures will be. We are not ready yet.

You think your friends would be interested? Share this story!


Source link