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A controversial scientist wants to dig into the genome of embryos again.

Controversial Chinese scientist He Jiankui claims that he has returned to work, reports the Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun. For his previous actions, he was imprisoned for three years. The reason was the birth of children whose genome was modified by Jiankui.

They were the first such birth in the world. Genetically modified children – twins Lulu and Nana – were born in 2018. The Chinese scientist used a gene editing procedure known as Crispr-Cas9 to transcribe the DNA in the sisters' embryos. This modification, according to He, had immunize children against HIV.

Does he want to do it again?

His experiments caused a major shock in the medical and scientific world. At the same time, Jiankui's actions stayed condemned for carrying out a risky, ethically controversial and medically unjustified procedure. Moreover, the court found that the scientist forged documents from the ethics review panel and then used it in recruitment pairs for their research. Ultimately, in 2019, he stayed sentenced in China to three years in prison.

Now He Jiankui defends his work adding that he is proud of the birth of three children with modified DNA (the last one was born in 2019). He told Mainichi magazine that hopes to use genome editing in human embryos to develop treatments for rare genetic diseases, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy and familial Alzheimer's disease. He wants to work on it in the three labs he has opened since his release from prison in 2022.

As the scientist adds in an interview, three genome-edited children are “completely healthy and have no growth problems”. In his opinion, the results of the analysis of entire gene sequences also show that the editing was safe. In the interview he also confirmed that resumed research on genome editing of human embryos despite controversy over the ethics of artificially rewriting genes.

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