Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor delivers an opening speech at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing at the University of Hong Kong, Nov 27, 2018. (PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG – Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Tuesday stressed the need to address concerns in the science, ethics, application and governance of human genome editing with the technology developing rapidly.
She made the remarks while delivering an opening speech at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing at the University of Hong Kong.
Chinese scientist He Jiankui’s announcement that he helped produce the world's first gene-edited babies sparked heated controversy among the public and academics
The three-day summit has been in major spotlight after announcement by one of the participants – Chinese scientist He Jiankui – that two genome-edited babies were born healthily days before the summit. He is said present a report on his project at a session themed "human embryo editing" on Wednesday.
In her opening speech Tuesday, Lam said the summit serves as a great platform to discuss benefits and potential risks of human genome editing while seeking ways to incorporate societal views into formulation of policy and regulations.
A formal statement on gene editing is expected to be released at the conclusion of the meeting on Thursday.
Genome editing is a type of genetic engineering in which DNA is inserted, deleted, modified or replaced in the genome of a living organism.
He, a researcher from Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, posted an online video Monday saying that he helped produce the world's first gene-edited babies. He claimed the twin girls were born healthily in November with the ability to resist possible future infection with HIV.
The news sparked heated controversy among the public and academics.
Total 122 scientists in China signed a joint statement on Monday condemning the experiment and terming it as “unethical and crazy”. They also urged the government to shut it down "before it's too late."
Professor David Baltimore, chairman of the summit's organizing committee, denied the committee knew in advance what He would talk about.
The organizing committee already issued a statement on Monday night, stating that it remained to be seen whether the clinical protocols in the research had conformed to guidance laid out in existing studies.
*Yang Zekun contributed to the story.
Copyright 1995 - 2023. All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily. Without written authorization from China Daily, such content shall not be republished or used in any form.
HONG KONG NEWS