The genetically modified Chinese twins, who were resistant to HIV last year, may also have mental "superpowers" that their creator has kept quiet – a cognitive superiority that, according to new research, could trigger a genetic arms race.
Lulu and Nana, the genetically modified Chinese twins allegedly born HIV-resistant by the CRISPR gene-editing tool, may also have been born with significantly superior mental abilities associated with the same gene-edit. Recent research has confirmed that deleting the CCR5 gene – the same modification made on girls' DNA – significantly improves the perception, learning, and memory of mice and men.
"The Answer Is Probably Yes, It Affected The Brain" The neurobiologist Alcino Silva of the University of California Los Angeles told MIT Technology Review after publishing a publication In the CCR5 was demonstrated deactivation function in post-stroke recovery this week.
" These mutations are likely to affect the cognitive function of twins " but the effect is unpredictable, he said, and " should therefore not be done .
He Jiankui, a researcher at Shenzhen Southern University of Science and Technology, made headlines in November after claiming he created the first HIV-resistant babies by using the CRISPR gene from human embryos removed and then implanted embryos in women.
" My reaction [to the birth of CCR5-deactivated twins] was a visceral repulsion and sadness ," admitted Silva. He noted that his research on the link between CCR5 and cognition has made him a lightning rod for Silicon Valley guys, starving for super-intelligent designer babies and expressing their concern that the genetic arms race is now underway.
But the Chinese researcher insisted that this was not his intention. " I am against the use of genome editing for improvement ," he said a week after the birth of the twins at a genetics conference, although he admitted to exploring the effects of CCR5 deactivation on the brain too to have. He speculated on his motives and allegedly disappeared shortly after the conference. It appears that his experiment violated China's ban on the reproductive use of gene processing in human embryos, and the government has promised to punish those responsible after learning of Lulu and Nana's birth.
. Silva co-authored the first published study that linked CCR5 to cognition in 2016, and showed mice without CCR5 Significantly improved memory of 140 other genetic alterations. He has observed the rapid progression of the field to clinical trials in stroke patients and in patients with cognitive HIV-related decline. But he says, " There is a big difference between trying to correct deficiencies in such patients and trying to make an improvement. "
We just do not know what the consequences are become. We are not ready yet .
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