He Jiankui, scientist who gene-edited 'Crispr babies', detained in China

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/12/03/china-baby-edit-scientist.html


Its not every day you get a genuine mad scientist setting up an origin story for a good/bad set of sibling super people. Too bad he was evidently incompetent.

Maybe the Chinese government has taken him away to a secret underground super villain lair? One can only hope…


I was wondering how embarrassing he was viewed back in China. I guess being “disappeared” gives me my answer… (if he ever turns up alive, that will give me the second part of the answer).


I am advised that he was initially proclaimed across social media as YAY SCIENCE, CHINA #1 !!! Then attention shifted (or was shifted) to his American mentors at Harvard who hold patents and are itching to open up the income stream from CRISPR-fying embryos, and in the new narrative, He is denounced as their puppet or stalking-horse.


My opinion about GE babies:

I’ll start with the disclaimer that I think we need to use due caution and diligence with gene technology in general.

Unfortunately every time I hear this being discussed, it is by ignorant closed minded people with one foot in the past. Are we going to genetically manipulate humans, our food, and even create new things? undoubtedly! no, inevitably! genetic engineering is one of the most powerful technologies we’ve created. it would be like deciding not to use electricity once we discovered how to harness it. It is one of our best hopes for feeding humanity, stopping disease, restoring ecosystems, etc. we are just seeing the very first cusp of what can even be done and it is dizzying. sure people are knee jerk scared of anything new. microwaves will kill us. cell phones will kill us. gmo food will kill us. burn the witches. fear born of ignorance, science and ability and knowledge are power.

i’ll finish by adding “with great power comes great responsibility” and we as a species are not so good with that.

…BUT, maybe if we fiddle with a few bits here and there. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: but seriously it is the only way humanity can change fast enough to keep pace with the rest,

it isn’t the science i worry about, it is humanities ability to wield certain bits of it, but with the population and the planet as it is we better get there quickly or we’ll be out of options.


So, DRM / IP issues?

I sure they’ll release him once the tentacles finish growing in.


Fry : Co-ed steam rooms! I love the future!

Leela : Uh, Fry, you’re in the women’s steam room.

Fry : Ah, futuristic!

Amy : Psst, look what life was like before genetic engineering.

Leela : Those poor 20th century women.

[Fry crosses his legs, embarrassed.]


If Crispr gets out of hand the effects could be devastating. That being said, its seems that it will be a requirement to improve the species. Humans are not intelligent or ethical enough to govern the affairs of a global society. The improvement of intelligence and ethics is paramount.

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I suspect the international condemnation had something to do with that…


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