贺建奎“基因编辑婴儿” 美国诺奖得主被曝事先知情

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贺建奎“基因编辑婴儿” 美国诺奖得主被曝事先知情

Craig Mello

中国科学家贺建奎创造世界首例基因编辑婴儿的消息去年在全世界引发极大批评。美联社周一(28日)突然曝出,知名生物学家、诺贝尔奖得主克雷格·梅洛(Craig Mello)早在基因宝宝还未出生时就已知道贺建奎正在进行这项试验,而尽管对此持反对态度,但梅洛仍然继续担任贺建奎公司的科学顾问,直到去年年底。

梅洛是马萨诸塞大学医学院的分子医学教授,2006年因与斯坦福医学院病理和遗传学教授法厄(Andrew Fire)发现RNA干扰现象,共同获得诺贝尔生理学或医学奖。




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在此之前,贺建奎本人已被中国南方科技大学停薪留职,中国媒体也在上周报道该事件已被初步查明为贺建奎追逐个人名利、蓄意逃避监管、违反国家禁令的行为,将依法依规严肃处理。另外,贺建奎在美国莱斯大学攻读博士学位时的导师、该校物理天文学院生物工程和基因工程教授Michael Deem,也因涉嫌协助了基因编辑婴儿的研究,仍在被学校调查。同时,科学界也在呼吁对相关领域的研究做出更清晰的规定和预警。




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U.S. professor knew about Chinese scientist’s gene-edited babies months before the rest of us

By Mike Wehner

It’s now been a few months since Chinese scientist He Jiankui revealed that he had genetically edited human embryos and implanted them into mothers, resulting in at least two live births. The news rocked the genetics community as scientists the world over condemned the work and demanded that guidelines be put in place to prevent such experiments from continuing.

Now, as the fate of He is being decided by Chinese authorities, the Associated Press is reporting that a U.S. professor and Nobel Prize winner Craig Mello of the University of Massachusetts was receiving regular updates from He due to his position as an unpaid adviser for the Chinese scientist’s biotech firm.

The report reveals that Mello exchanged emails with He regarding the genetics work being performed. However, it’s abundantly clear from the emails, which were obtained via a public records request, that Mello was not in agreement with He over the work.

Mello heavily criticized He’s decision to pursue genetic editing of a human embryo that was to be carried by a mother, and questioned He’s intentions. In what would be one of their final exchanges, He revealed to Mello that one of the women had become pregnant with the modified embryo, drawing swift ire from the Nobelist.

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“I’m glad for you, but I’d rather not be kept in the loop on this,” Mello replied. “I think this is not a true unmet medical need, and so do not support the use of CRISPR for this indication. You are risking the health of the child you are editing, and to my knowledge there is no significant risk of transmission from father to embryo with IVF.”

“I just don’t see why you are doing this,” Mello continued. “I wish your patient the best of luck for a healthy pregnancy.”

He claimed his intention was to prevent the transmission of HIV from virus-positive parents to offspring, but that claim wasn’t enough to protect him from widespread criticism. Chinese authorities are reportedly holding He in government housing while they decide how to proceed, and there’s a very real risk that he may receive a death sentence for his risky work.

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