The birth of the first genetically modified children in history has split the scientific community

The act of He Jiangkui, who secretly edited the genome of human embryos and achieved the birth of two twin girls, immune to HIV, split the scientific community. Scientists around the world debate the safety, effectiveness and ethics of Jiangkui's decision.

Now, when the passions have subsided a little, it is clearly visible that very weighty and reasonable counter-arguments have been put forward to all the accusations against the Chinese geneticist. For example, why did he block the CCR5 gene as an imposed mutation to make children immune to HIV? After all, there are other, more reliable genetic tools for solving the same problem in adults, but how will the removal of a whole gene affect the development of babies? They are parried - there are at least 100 million people in the world who are "disabled" by the natural mutation of CCR5. The professor did not invent the bicycle, but simply dared to artificially recreate the already known natural mutation.

And so in all aspects, the Chinese scientist is condemned not so much for interfering with the genome of the embryo, not for creating GMO children, but for this act itself. It is not easy for many scientists to admit that they personally did not dare to do this, they were waiting for some changes, new times, reforms, etc. And He Jiangkui, albeit in secret, took the risk and succeeded. Moreover, it is in the area where they have long been talking about the urgent need to make a big step forward.

Here it will be appropriate to recall 1978, the girl Louise Brown and the scandal with the first in vitro fertilization. This operation was also carried out "outside the law", on the verge of ethical and scientific standards, but now no one will object that the introduction of this technology was for the good of mankind. After the publication of Jiangkui's experience, there are more and more calls to revise the principles of ethics and morality, if they really slow down the development of science. Not to replace them with anarchy and complete freedom to experiment in the spirit of "Dr. Moreau", but to develop new rules of work for geneticists. After all, it is obvious that in the future humanity cannot do without editing the genome.