A medical watchdog warns that bad things can and do happen, even when people might have the best intentions.
Last November, a Chinese scientist claimed to use a gene modifying technology known as CRISPR to make the first genetically edited babies.
The stated purpose was to make the twin girls resistant to HIV infection, something the Chinese scientist claims many adults and children suffer from in his homeland.
This week, however, a study published in Nature found that babies whose genes have been edited by CRISPR may be at an increased risk of early death.
"Nobody knows when you start to mess with the DNA what's going to happen," observes Twila Brase, president and co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom. "So I don't believe that that scientist, if he had thought about giving those two girls or anybody else a shorter life span, that he would have done it. But he probably wasn't thinking about that.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese scientist isn't the end of the matter.
"A Russian biologist said this week that he plans more CRISPR-edited babies," reports Brase. "There will be always be someone that decides they don't care what anybody else says. Once the technology is here, they're going to use it."
Brase suggests the media should spend more time reporting on the CRISPR issue and the ethics debate over gene editing.