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Should Gene-editing Be Allowed In Humans?

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Background Introduction

Do you believe that scientists will change genes in the future? The late physicist Stephen Hawking predicted that the wealthy would use gene-editing to improve the DNA of their offspring, potentially leading to the creation of superhuman species that would rapidly self-renew and self-evolve, from pure humans to genetically modified humans (Stephen Hawking. (2018). Brief Answers to the Big Questions). But now Hawking’s prediction is coming true. In November 2018. A Chinese scientist He Jiankui published his report announced the results of his research that he had created the world’s first gene-editing babies (Lulu and Nana) can immune AIDS who were born in October in Shenzhen. When this announcement spread around the world, hundreds of scientists and expressed strong opposition. But, why Genome-edited baby claim can evoke international outcry?

Recent developments in this area

The main technique used in this study is CRISPR/Cas9. ‘‘CRISPR’’ refers to Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, which is a natural system found in bacteria and archaea (Sina Technology, 2018). ‘’CRISPR’’ were first discovered in archaea by Francisco Mojica, a scientist at the University of Alicante in Spain. He proposed that ‘‘CRISPR’’ can be used to defending against invading viruses as a natural immune system (Mojica,1993). In 2012, two biologists Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier proposed a study to prove CRISPR/Cas9 technique has been shown to cut strand of DNA, the ability of CRISPR to modify genes in living cells, and the feasibility of CRISPR for genome editing has been fully discussed. Since then, the CRISPR technique is known as the most breakthrough technique in the biotechnique area (US Chinese source, 2016). The most common application areas for genetic editing are agriculture and animal husbandry. Researchers use genetic editing techniques to improve crops and livestock to increase the yield of crops and livestock and increase their disease resistance.

How have new technologies or scientific research impacted developments in this area?

The goal of Dr. He’s team is to use technology to genetically modify human embryos to destroy two normal genes so that humans are naturally immune to AIDS. According to the 2nd day of Human Genome Editor International Summit, He Jiankui, the controversial Chinese “Gene Editing Baby” project leader expressed that he disease he is targeting is the AIDS that human beings are currently trying to overcome. CCR5∆32 gene which is involved in and helps HIV enter cells. However, if someone carries two copies of the CCR5∆32 gene, HIV’s route into the cell is cut off because it does not normally express the CCR5∆32 protein, making it harder to infect. In He Jiankui’s experiment was to use the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to disable the CCR5 gene and modify CCR5 to CCR5∆32. CCR5∆32 is highly resistant to the HIV-1 virus and prevents the HIV-1 virus from entering the cell, thereby forming immunity against the HIV-1 virus.

Which country /companies are leading the way in this research?

Although Crisper technology has been discovered before, China is the first clinical trial of CRISPER gene therapy in the world. The applicant’s work unit is the South University Of Science And Technology. The sponsor of the project is the ethics committee of Shenzhen Hemei Women and Children’s Hospital.

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Is government funding of this research justified?

This research can be approved by various committees and governments, which is unreasonable. The study has uncertain benefits and unpredictable risks. Instead of challenging scientific ethics, governments should fund research that is safe and reliable. Gene editing has long been invented, but the potential risks are not fully known. On the one hand, a person’s risk of AIDS is far lower than the risk of the experiment itself (Chen kai, 2018). Because only the father in the study was HIV-positive, fathers have little risk of transmitting HIV to their children.. On the other hand, the benefits of gene editing are not as clear as the researchers claim. The CCR532 gene indeed has a strong resistance to HIV-1, but HIV is divided into HIV-1 and HIV-2. So, the study is uncertain, and theoretically not immune. These studies should have been known to the government or many committees before they were approved, yet they were approved. This is inappropriate.

What are the social, economic, political, environmental, cultural or ethical impacts of your topic on global society?

Society impacts: From a Darwinian evolutionary point of view, gene editing is a good choice. Because human beings have had little chance of natural selection in the past few tens of thousands of years, if they can evolve in this way, gene editing is likely to be a trend. However, ‘‘This is the first time a gene-edited embryonic cell has grown into an adult, but we are far from ready for it (Xu Nanping,2019).’’

Ethical impacts: ‘‘I think the public’s perception of CRISPR is very focused on the idea of using genetic editing to treat diseases. This is an exciting possibility. But this is only a small part (Neville Sanjana,2017).’ However, its role has also raised ethical concerns. For Lulu and Nana, He Jiankui edited lulu and nana’s CCR5 gene when they were embryos, they did not have the right to choose their own lives, but the right to be chosen. Lulu and nana’s life are not guaranteed. it has also broken openly the bottom line of morality and ethics that the academic community has adhered to (Xu Nanping, 2019).’’ It is shocking and unacceptable.


The world’s first gene editing human has been achieved, and we can only wait for Lulu and Nana’s life. The reason why most scientists in most countries around the world do not touch this Pandora’s box is mainly because of the obvious ethical issues and the safety of the technology. If you are determined to open the box, you do not need a ‘breakthrough in technology’, but only a ‘comprehensive breakthrough in the bottom line of ethics’.

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Should Gene-editing Be Allowed In Humans? (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from
“Should Gene-editing Be Allowed In Humans?” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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Should Gene-editing Be Allowed In Humans? [Internet] Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2022 Dec 8]. Available from:
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