A few weeks ago Lulu and Nana were born: twins twins, genetically modified by a group of Chinese researchers, were directed by Jiankui (Chinese Science and Technology University). The goal was clear: the goal was to be protected against the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The news shook the world, because if it is confirmed, it will be the first "designer babies" made of the Crispr / Cas9 technique, the famous scissors with the ability to regulate genes that shake the darkest fantasies of genetic determinism.
However, beyond the explosion of the hullabaloo contained, the international scientific community begs with caution. He reveals that Jiankui is currently circulating lazy papers: his work has not been published in any private journals, and his experiment has not yet challenged other experts' magnifiers or theses. In this context, Alberto Kornblihtt, Senior Doctor of Medicine and Conicet at the University of Buenos Aires, Department of Chemistry, says: c Nothing could be evaluated because the works were not published: we don't know how he did the experiment. nor the embryos were thrown along the way. If they are actually producing virus-resistant infants, only millions of dollars are expected to have access to their families, which will lead to the creation of a subgroup with a genetic advantage, because they have a lot of money. Something as sophisticated as it is unnecessary. "
Although prohibited in many countries, Jiankui's group organized human embryos to provide a faculty of resistance to future infection. Crispr works as a; molecular scissors lar, a revolution that revolutionizes the universe of molecular biology and is able to win its creators soon with the Nobel Prize in Medicine because it allows the production of interruptions and modifications in the genome. Thus, it serves to promote, correct or eliminate DNA sequences completely with targeted and surgical precision. "So far, we have been very careful, because if the technology is not used correctly, it could be damaged if it is damaged," says Marcelo Rubinstein, doctor of chemistry and senior researcher at Conicet.
Mayan I am against the genetic modification of human embryos that can produce new features for newborns and are also transferred to offspring. In addition, Crispr has potentially unpredictable effects due to the modification of other genome sites that do not form the desired region. Another thing that is least needed in the world is to regulate the genome of those who will be born, because there is a lot to do about it. eye says Alberto Kornblihtt.
"Enthusiasm is encouraged by this technique, because at least when working with mice damage-induced damage can be significantly reduced, in which case the gene encoding the protein that acts as a gateway to the virus in the cell will be eliminated," Rubinstein explains.
"What has been censored in the past, may not be judged in the future. What is happening is that it opens the door to transform any aspect of human biology," the expert said.
From the perspective of Rubinstein, this can be seen from a geopolitical point of view. "There is a very important war between China and the United States, so this is a demonstration of power: both countries claim that they are not willing to give advantages. During the Cold War it was much more understandable, but the dispute is still hidden, but the USSR is no longer available. In the middle of 2017, a team of scientists led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov (University of Science and Health of Oregon) decided to move the first pawn to the chessboard, leaving a traditional pragmatic logic in bioethical issues. later, his research published his research in the prestigious Nature magazine, showing that Crispr could be used in a human embryo extracted from the sperm of a sick person and, without eliminating and promoting congenital congenital effects before birth, additional errors in your genome. Ak won the test of caution: they stopped the experiment at the embryonic level, it seems, although the confirmation of the case continued, the Asians took two steps to conquer the target before, and they planted their flag to shout the craftsmanship to the world. The difference is that the region in dispute is not the moon – as in the 60's – but the human body.