Cambridge life scientists comment on first-ever gene-editing of two girls in China

Mike Scialom wrote this article on highlights from RAREfest 2018 for Cambridge Independent. He spoke with Anna about the controversy around the first gene edited babies, born recently in China
5th December 2018

Excerpt from article:

"The first thing Anna did when she returned from Hong Kong on Friday was attend RAREfest on Saturday, where her planned presentation was adapted to highlight the issues the controversy has raised.

“The Chinese scientist edited the genes to protect against HIV,” Dr Middleton told theCambridge Independent shortly before her talk. “It’s a completely illegal procedure because he edited and implanted the perfectly normal embryos with the intention of creating the first edited child. The husband had HIV and the mother didn’t, and it was pitched in the consent form as a vaccine against HIV to the parents.

“But they don’t need a vaccine as HIV is in the semen not the sperm, so you can wash the sperm and add it to the egg.”

This legitimate HIV treatment would have been enough to ensure any subsequent embryos would not have been born with HIV, says Dr Middleton."


Scialom, M, 2018. 'Cambridge life scientists comment on first-ever gene-editing of two girls in China.' Cambridge Independent. Published online 5 December: [Accessed: 14 December 2018]