Chinese scientist who edited babies' genes has been fired and may face criminal charges


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/23/chinese-scientist-who-edited-b.html


#2

#3

#4

I guess that any findings from this project will end up like the Nazi’s murderous study on hypothermia; damned, but still used.


#5

Was that data useful?

It was my understanding that a large chunk if not all of their experiments were actually poorly constructed (ethics aside just not a good job of using rigorous experimental protocols, controls, etc) and actually not very useful


#6

It’s interesting that the initial response in China was to laud him. Then came international condemnation, the narrative flipped, and now he’s facing the death penalty. I’m not sure how much of the flip was due to the international condemnation, or if it was something that was going to happen anyways.


#7

I guess that there wasn’t any way to check their results.


#8

Forget it @Shuck, it’s Chinatown

:wink:


#9

The Party doesn’t like people who show initiative, I feel punishment for doing something so bold without asking permission was unavoidable.


#10

I just saw some statistic on how many of China’s billionaires have died of unnatural causes and… yeah, the dynamics of that country are truly unique. (And only a small fraction were officially executed.)


#11

Experimenting on humans and all their descendants in an unethical matter is probably something that merits punishment and sanction near the level of war crimes.


#12

Possibly, but I suspect that in a totalitarian state like China that wouldn’t have mattered if the politburo approved of it.


#13

Then it doesn’t matter if they sanctioned it for us to have an opinion.


#14

Leave the mad scientist alone! [sob]


#15

What about the babies? What happens to them? Obviously I’m not suggesting they be punished (unless it turns out they were complicit) but can they be allowed to reproduce? Is there any reason to be genuinely wary of propagating this guy’s irresponsible experiment to who knows how many future generations? And if so, how do you handle that ethically? Yikes.

I guess we could just proceed under the not-unreasonable assumption that we’ll probably be getting pretty good at this whole gene editing thing over the next few decades and any harm introduced by this guy can probably be corrected at some point.


#16

With current technology this kind of genetic change can only be made right at the beginning, rewriting the dna in every cell in an adult body is out of our league (for now). So if something goes wrong, I think those children are screwed.


#17

So does that mean we’ll have to consider denying them the right to reproduce to avoid possible unforseen consequences that might not surface for generations? Is it a drastic enough situation to warrant that?


#18

At this point, who knows, we can’t do anything but guess. It’s certainly possible although I would qualify it as unlikely. The change made is small after all.


#19

Do you want

?

Because that’s how you get


#20

This is a planted story in advance of Marvel’s new superhero movie. The gene-editing mad scientist is the origin story!
Sooooo obvious.