The world’s first genetically edited twins are a year old. We should all have a say in how this life-changing tech is used

Two little girls called Lulu and Nana celebrate their first birthday this month. The Chinese twins are the first humans to have every cell in their body genetically modified using Crispr-Cas9, a revolutionary gene-editing process that allows the DNA in embryos to be edited to carry certain characteristics that can be passed down to their children and grandchildren.

When the twins’ birth was announced to the world by the US-trained biochemist He Jiankui, he described how he and his Chinese and American colleagues had used Crispr to introduce genetic mutations into otherwise healthy embryos in an attempt to minimise the girls’ susceptibility to HIV infection. Such an intervention was both unnecessary and possibly ineffective, and in direct defiance of scientific consensus and established ethical norms. As a molecular biologist who has spent over a decade in laboratories, I was horrified by the experiment.

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Read More Gene editing like Crispr is too important to be left to scientists alone | Natalie Kofler

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