Biotech and Pharma

Controversial genetic science may give human embryos HIV resistance

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Chinese researchers have reported successfully adding HIV-resistant mutations into human embryos, according to an article in Nature on Friday.

The scientific study used human eggs that were "unsuitable for implantation" due to an extra set of chromosomes, according to Nature. Then, the researchers at Guangzhou Medical University added a naturally occurring immune cell gene mutation that makes carriers resistant to HIV, according to the study, which was published in the U.S.-based Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics.

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With four modified embryos, it is the world's second published claim of editing the genes of human embryos, according to Nature, reigniting the debate over whether such studies are ethical, given the technical challenges involved. Nature asked the paper's corresponding author, stem-cell scientist Yong Fan, for comment, but had not heard from him by the time of the report.

For more on the story, see the full report from Nature.