China Medical twins may have their brains inadvertently enhanced


The brain of two gene editing of the girls born in China last year may have been to change the way, improve cognition and memory, scientists say.

The Twins called Lulu and Nana, it was reported that their genetically modified before birth by the Chinese science team, using the new editing tools environment. Our goal is to make girls from HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Now, new research suggests that the same change introduced the girl’s DNA, to remove gene called CCR5, not only makes rats smarter, but also improves the human brain’s recovery after stroke and may be associated with greater success in school.

“The answer is likely, it does not affect their brain,”said Alcino J. Silva, a neurobiologist at the University of California Los Angeles, its laboratory had found a new significant role in CCR5 gene in the memory and the brain’s ability to form new connections.

“The most simple explanation is that these mutations may affect cognitive function in Twins,”said Silva. He said the exact impact of girls ‘ cognitive is impossible to predict,”this is why it should not be done.”

He Jiankui poses for the camera-related news in the days before his gene editing experiments become known.

Mark Schiefelbein|AP

The Chinese team, he Jiankui the Southern University of Science and technology in Shenzhen, claiming that its use rules to delete CCR5 from human embryos, some of which were later used to create a pregnancy. HIV requires the CCR5 gene into the body’s blood cells.

The experiment has been widely condemned as irresponsible, and he is being investigated in China. News of the first gene editing of the baby is also inflamed to guess whether the environment of the technology could one day be used to create super-intelligent people, perhaps as part of the biotech race between the United States and China.

There is no evidence that he actually set the Modify of twins intelligence. The MIT Technology Review contact the scientists to study the effects of CCR5 on the cognitive, they say, Chinese scientists have never reached them, because he had no other person he wishes to obtain scientific advice and support.

“The best I know, we never heard of him, said:”Miou-Miou Zhou, Professor of the Western University of Health Sciences in California.

Although he never consulted the researchers of the brain, the Chinese scientists of course know the link between CCR5 and cognition. It is First shown in the 2016 weeks and Silva, he found, in addition to the gene from the mice significantly improved their memory. The team looked at more than 140 different genetic alterations found in the mice smarter.

Silva said that because of his research, he sometimes interaction of digital, in Silicon Valley and elsewhere who, in his opinion, an unhealthy interest in the design of a baby with better brain. This is why, when the birth of twins has become public on 25,Silva said he immediately wanted to know if it have tried such a change. “I suddenly realized—Oh, God, they’re really serious about this nonsense,”said Silva. “My reaction is visceral rejection and sadness.”

At the summit of the gene editing scientists occurred two days later in Hong Kong, he admitted that he knew all along about the potential of the brain affected, from the UCLA study. “I saw that piece of paper, it needs more independent verification, he replied:”when asked about it in the Q A session(see video here). He added:”I oppose the use of gene editing for enhancement.”

Regardless of his true purpose, evidence continues to establish that CCR5 plays a major role in the brain. Today, for example, Silva and a big team from the United States and Israel say they have new evidence that CCR5 as a suppression of memory and synaptic coupling.

According to its new report, appearing in the journal Cell, the people lack the natural CCR5 recover more quickly from strokes. More importantly, people are missing a gene seem to be more further in school, suggesting a possible role in everyday intelligence.

“We are the first to report the function of CCR5 in the human brain, and the first report of higher levels of Education,”said UCLA biologist S. Thomas Carmichael, who led the new study. He called for links to education success”tempting”, but expressed also the need for further research.

Found for CCR5 has been tracked in the drug trials in both stroke patients and those suffering from HIV, they sometimes suffer from memory problems. In these studies, one of which is below the formula in UCLA, the people are given an anti-AIDS drug, Mara Rivero, which chemically block the CCR5, to see if it improves their cognition.

Silva said there is a big difference between trying to correct the defects in such patients and tried to establish the enhancement. “Cognitive problems is one of the largest unmet needs in medicine. We need drugs, but it is another thing to take normal people and the silt of the DNA or Chemical be improved”, he said. “We just don’t know enough to do this. Nature had struck a very delicate balance.”

Just because we should not change the normal intelligence, does not mean that we can’t. Silva said the genetic operation using the”Smart Mouse”is not displayed, it is possible, however, to change the CCR5 having a particularly large impact.

“It may be to imagine, at this point in the future we can improve the average IQ of the population? I wouldn’t be a scientist if I say no. Work in mice suggests that the answer may be,”he said. “However, mice are not people. We just don’t know what the consequences will be in the mucking around. We are not ready yet.”

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