News that a doctor in China has produced the world’s first “gene-edited babies” has proven once again that all human attributes are genetic in origin, and not environmental, as the race-denying liberal establishment claims.
According to news reports, the Chinese team, led by He Jiankui of Southern University of Science and Technology of China in Shenzhen, used the CRISPR gene editing technique to try to disable the gene for the protein CCR5, which is the “hook” onto which HIV enters and infects cells.
Seven pairs of men and women reportedly took part in the experiment. All of the men were HIV-positive, and, according to the Associated Press, each couple was offered free IVF treatment in exchange for participating in what was described on ethical consent forms as an “AIDS vaccine development program”. The team behind the work says the couples were fully informed about the experiment.
The sperm from each man was “washed” to rid it of any HIV, and then injected into eggs extracted from their partners. Next, the CRISPR gene editing machinery was injected into the resulting embryos.
In total, the experiment produced 22 embryos. To check that the CRISPR gene editing had worked, a single cell was removed from each embryo and analyzed. Apparently 16 embryos had successfully been edited, 11 of which were implanted. Only one pregnancy was successfully achieved, and it produced twins.
Of these twins, one is said to have had both their copies of CCR5 disabled. That means that their body won’t make the CCR5 protein, and their cells should be able to resist infection with HIV. However, according to the Associated Press, the embryo for the second twin only had one copy of CCR5 disabled.
According to a fact sheet provided by the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), genome editing “is of great interest in the prevention and treatment of human diseases” and “most research on genome editing is done to understand diseases using cells and animal models.”
It is being explored in research on a wide variety of diseases, including single-gene disorders such as cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, and sickle cell disease. It also holds promise for the treatment and prevention of more complex diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, mental illness, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
However, the NLM says, “Ethical concerns arise when genome editing is used to alter human genomes . . . including whether it would be permissible to use this technology to enhance normal human traits (such as height or intelligence). Based on concerns about ethics and safety, germline cell and embryo genome editing are currently illegal in many countries.”
The real lesson of this test case—and of the reality of gene editing—is, as mentioned by the NLM, the fact that intelligence and all other physical attributes are in fact genetic, and not environmental.