Scientists reveal unexpected consequences of gene-edited babies

June 3, 2019

In 2018, Chinese scientist He Jiankui, Ph.D., altered the DNA of two human embryos, which lead to genetic changes that he claimed to be benign —but now new research says otherwise.

Using the gene-editing tool CRISPR, He created a mutation in the CCR5 gene, called the ∆32 mutation, in the embryos. The scientist's intention was to promote HIV resistance in the two twin girls.

He only succeeded in creating this mutation in one of the girls, and a newly-published study says this mutation seems to sharply increase an individual’s susceptibility to other major diseases, like the flu. According to the study from Rasmus Nielsen and Xinzhu “April” Wei at the University of California, Berkeley, people with two copies of the mutation also have a 21 percent greater chance of dying before age 76 than those who don’t.

Read the Inverse article.