Genetically modified Chinese twins born of HIV-resistant last year may also have mental "super powers", their creator has remained calm – a cognitive advantage that could trigger a genetic arms race, according to new studies.
Lulu and Nana, genetically modified Chinese twins, who are reportedly born of HIV-resistant CRISPR gene edit tools, can also be born with significantly higher mental capabilities associated with the same gene expression. A new study confirmed that the removal of the CCR5 gene, the same modification performed on DNA of girls, greatly improves cognition, learning and memory in mice and men.
"The answer is probably yes, it affected their brain," The University of California at Los Angeles, an unbiologist Alcino Silva told MIT Technology Review, having published a document demonstrating the CCR5's charitable role of decontamination in post-stroke recovery this week.
" These mutations are likely to affect the cognitive function of the twins " but the effect is unpredictable, he said, and " therefore it should not be made
He Jiankui, a researcher at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, in November made headlines, saying that his team created the first HIV-resistant children, removing the CCR5 gene from human embryos using CRISPR, and then implanting embryos in women. ] My reaction [to the birth of CCR5-deactivated twins] was a visceral repulsion and sadness ", – admitted Silva , noting that his research on the relationship between CCR5 and his knowledge made him a zipper for the Silicon Valley. The types are starving for super-clever designer babies and express concern that the genetic arms race is underway.
But a Chinese researcher insisted it was not his intensity. " I'm against using genome editing to enhance ," he said at a genetics conference a week after the twins were born, although he acknowledged that he was aware of the effects of CCR5 deactivation on the brain. Adding reflection on his motives, he is reported to have disappeared shortly after the conference. His experiment seems to have violated China's ban on the reproductive use of gene expression in human embryos, and the government has promised to punish those responsible after the birth of Lulu and Nani.
Silva wrote the first published study that tracks CCR5 with cognition in 2016, showing CCR5 mice have significantly improved memory, from 140 other genetic modifications. He observed the rapid progress of the field to clinical trials in patients who suffered a stroke and those who had a cognitive decline. But, he says, " there is a big difference between attempts to rectify deficits in such patients and an attempt to create improvements."
"We simply do not know what the consequences will be in suppression. We are not ready for this yet .
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