Chinese scientist under fire for genetically modifying human embryo
A Chinese scientist got the world’s attention after allegedly experimenting on a human.
The researcher, He Jiankui, who goes by JK, is under fire by many colleagues, after saying he successfully genetically modified a human embryos for a mother expecting twins. JK modified the embryos, apparently making them resistant to HIV.
“If he did what he said he did, then we have some significant ethical concerns because there hasn’t been clarity around the actual research process,” Tom Harter, Director of Bioethics and Humanities for Gundersen Health System in La Crosse said.
JK said he altered embryos for seven couples, with one pregnancy so far.
“If you’re going to do scientific research using human subjects, you better have a pretty good idea, a good hypothesis that what you’re going to have an impact or make a difference for the people who you’re doing this with,” Harter said.
“How does this impact the future of humanity if people can now all the sudden change human genetics to specify it to various characteristics that some people find more appealing than the alternative characteristic?”
Harter says most scientific standards require a high likelihood of success before a researcher tests on humans.