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Genetically edited babies might die young

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

genetically edited babies might die young

Story at-a-glance -

  • In 2018, He Jiankui, a Chinese scientist, modified the DNA of human embryos during in vitro fertilization by disabling a gene called CCR5, which could potentially make the babies resistant to infection with HIV
  • New research revealed that knocking out that gene may lead to negative effects on life expectancy, potentially shortening the gene-edited babies’ life spans before they were even born
  • University of California Berkeley researchers used genotyping and death register information of 409,693 individuals of British ancestry to determine the effects of mutations to the CCR5 gene
  • Such individuals may have higher immunity against HIV, but they also had a 21% increase in all-cause mortality rate

In 2018, He Jiankui, a Chinese scientist, claimed to have created the world's first gene-edited babies. He modified the DNA of human embryos during in vitro fertilization by disabling a gene called CCR5, which could potentially make the babies resistant to infection with HIV.

The babies, twin girls known as Lulu and Nana, were born in 2018, and a third baby with an edited CCR5 gene is due to be born in 2019. He's team received major backlash from the highly controversial move, as while the technology to genetically edit human babies has existed for some time, ethical considerations had stopped researchers from tinkering with the human germline.


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