Africa-Press – Lesotho. The world’s first gene-edited children are living “normal” and “peaceful” life with their parents, Chinese genetic scientist He Jiankui told a Chinese newspaper on Tuesday.
“They have a normal, peaceful and undisturbed life. This is their wish and we should respect them,” He said.
The scientist noted that he did not want the children to be bothered for the purpose of scientific research, adding that “the happiness of the children and their families should come first.” He added that after the children turned 18, they would decide for themselves whether to undergo medical examinations or not.
Despite the fact that He claimed that the genes were “edited successfully” and the children would be fully or partially immune to HIV, several experts challenged the results of his studies and stated that the Chinese scientist “created new mutations, which might lead to HIV resistance but might not.”
After his release from prison in April 2022, He Jiankui set up a new laboratory in Beijing to develop affordable gene therapy for rare genetic diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
The scientist currently plans to register a non-profit research organization called the Beijing Institute for Rare Disease Research, the newspaper reported.
In November 2018, He announced the birth of two babies whose DNA had been modified so that they can develop immunity to HIV infection. A third baby was born a year later. The scientist was criticized by the scientific community, and the Chinese authorities charged him with illegal medical practice. He was sentenced to three years in prison and fined 3 million yuan (about $422,500).
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