China gene babies’ mutation linked to higher mortality: study

The genetic mutation given to Chinese twins last year rendering them immune to the HIV virus may significantly reduce life expectancy, scientists said Monday in a fresh warning against human gene-editing.

Chinese researcher He Jiankui last year provoked widespread outrage among doctors by unveiling the results of an experiment he conducted to alter the DNA of twin girls, prompting authorities in Beijing to announce a moratorium on the practice.

He used a gene-editing tool known as Crispr to insert a mutated variant of a CCR5 gene — known as Delta32 — into the girls’ chromosome at the embryo stage meaning they are now immune to the AIDS-causing HIV virus.


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