Scientists tricked the DNA of embryos into an experiment to create immunity for infants to the HIV virus.
A Chinese court has sentenced scientist He Jiankui to three years in prison and a fine of 3 million yuan (about $430,000) for illegal experiments with the birth of twins from genetically modified embryos. This is stated in the court’s decision. Also were convicted and accomplices of the scientist: Chang Yenli was sentenced to two years in prison and 1 million yuan fine (about $143,000), and Tsin Jinzhou – received 1.5 years of imprisonment with a suspended sentence of two years and a fine of 500,000. RMB (about $71.6 thousand).
According to the investigation, in 2016, former assistant professor of Southern University of Science and Technology He Jiankui decided to extract commercial profit by modifying the human genome, after which he colluded with Chang Yenli and Xin Jinzhou. The accomplices forged materials on the conformity of the experiment to moral and ethical norms selected several couples in which the men were HIV-positive, and by deception and deliberate concealment of the truth misled them by creating the impression that the experiment is being conducted legally. Scientists have altered the DNA of embryos conceived through in vitro fertilization using a new gene-editing technique (CRISPR-Sas9).
Their goal was to make infants immune to the HIV virus carried by their fathers. To do this, the scientists tried to “disable” the embryos’ single CCR5 gene, responsible for encoding a protein that allows HIV to enter the cell. At the same time, the attackers did not inform about the change in the genome of embryos of doctors who performed in vitro fertilization operations.
According to the case file, the experiments resulted in two women becoming pregnant and gave birth to a total of three girls with altered DNA.