Researchers retract study questioning long-term health of China’s controversial CRISPR babies

f He Jiankui
He Jiankui, speaks during the Human Genome Editing Conference in Hong Kong. Image: Kin Cheung/Associated Press

A study that raised questions over the future health of the world’s first gene-edited babies has been retracted because of key errors that undermined its conclusion.

The research, published in June 2019 in Nature Medicine, had suggested that people with two copies of a natural genetic mutation that confers HIV resistance are at an increased risk of dying earlier than other people. It was conducted in the wake of controversial experiments by the Chinese scientist He Jiankui, who had attempted to recreate the effects of this mutation in the gene CCR5 by using the CRISPR gene-editing tool in human embryos. The twin girls born last year as a result of the work did not end up carrying this exact mutation, but the research attracted attention because of its potential relevance to such experiments.

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But a flurry of studies that looked anew the Nature Medicine research … have rejected the results and find no evidence that people with the mutation die early. The erroneous conclusion about CCR5 was caused by technical errors in how the mutation was identified in a population-health database.

Read full, original post: Geneticists retract study suggesting first CRISPR babies might die early

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