He unveiled his research on Monday in Hong Kong to one of the organisers of an global conference on gene editing that is set to begin on Tuesday.
Reaction to the claim was swift and harsh.
A joint statement issued by more than 120 Chinese scientists on the Chinese social media site Weibo condemns the human genome-editing research.
Julian Savulescu, director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, described the alleged births as "genetic Russian Roulette".
Asked for his comment on the university's statement, He said he had been on voluntary leave for several years to focus on his research, without specifying dates. Deem was He's adviser when he studied at there.
In addition, Zhang said that in 2015, "the worldwide research community said it would be irresponsible to proceed with any germline editing without 'broad societal consensus about the appropriateness of the proposed application.' (This was the consensus statement from the 2015 worldwide Summit on Human Gene Editing.) It is my hope that this year's summit will serve as a forum for deeper conversations about the implications of this news and provide guidance on how we as a global society can best benefit from gene editing".
"Gene editing itself is experimental and is still associated with off-target mutations, capable of causing genetic problems early and later in life, including the development of cancer". All together, the researchers edited 16 of 22 embryos and 11 were used in six pregnancy attempts.
Also, this type of gene editing is banned in the USA because the changes made in these genes can pass to the future generations, risking other genes. Its risks are unknown, and leading scientists have called for a moratorium on its use except in lab studies until more is learned. He used a powerful new gene editing tool called CRISPR-cas9, which has the ability to rewrite DNA, according to the report.
Some scientists were astounded to hear of the claim and strongly condemned it. Medical advances need to be openly discussed with patients, doctors, scientists, and society, he wrote.
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The claim-yet to be reported in a scientific paper-initiated a firestorm of criticism today, with some scientists and bioethicists calling the work "premature", "ethically problematic", and even "monstrous".
"In this ever more competitive global pursuit of applications for gene editing, we hope to be a stand-out", He and his team wrote in an ethics statement previous year.
Other scientists, meanwhile, asked to see details of the experiment and its justification before passing judgment.
"I think this just shows the time is now that you have to talk about the ethics of genome editing, because the world may not wait", said Insoo Hyun, a bioethicist at Case Western Reserve University.
Notre Dame Law School professor O. Carter Snead, a former presidential adviser on bioethics, called the report "deeply troubling, if true". The summit was organized try to reach a global consensus on whether and how it would be ethical to create genetically modified human beings with CRISPR. "These children, and their children's children, have had their futures irrevocably changed without consent, ethical review or meaningful deliberation".
Earlier this month, a public poll by Sun Yat-sen University revealed that while a majority of respondents in China supported gene editing and its legalization for treating diseases, they objected to gene editing for human enhancement.
The group's pioneer that shares the namesake of the editing technology has enrolled its first patient in a European study and recently opened enrollment in the USA for patients with severe sickle cell disease in trials with partner Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.
The biggest concern: That precision, or lack of it.
In interviews, He Jiankui defended his work. Many scientists believe it is inevitable, but should be restricted to situations where no alternative is available. "The removal of CCR5 is not able to entirely prevent HIV infection due to the high variability of HIV". "I met the parents".