China's CRISPR babies may have superhuman brain powers

He Jiankui
YouTube: South China Morning Post

in 2018, a Chinese doctor named He Jiankui created babies using CRISPR gene editing. The birth of the babies named Lulu and Nana sparked controversies all across the world and several people criticized Jiankui citing ethical reasons. As per skeptics, Jiankui had conducted the CRISPR editing without any oversight and it is against the law of nature.

Earlier, it was revealed that the genes of these children were modified in a lab so that they will be resistant to contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Now, it has been reported that this cutting edge experiment conducted by Jiankui will provide superhuman brain powers to these kids.

Several experts believe that Lulu and Nana will have enhanced memory and cognition abilities when compared to normal kids who have not undergone CRISPR gene editing.

Researchers made this conclusion by analyzing the brain powers of mice after removing the CCR5 gene in mice. The research revealed that the removal of the CCR5 gene in mice made them more intellectually advanced and experts believe that the CRISPR gene edited babies will be also blessed with high intellectual powers in the future.

"The answer is likely yes, it did affect their brains. The simplest interpretation is that those mutations will probably have an impact on cognitive function in the twins," said Alcino J. Silva, a neurobiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, Technology Review reports.

Alcino J. Silva also added that the exact effect of gene editing on these babies are yet to be determined, and it is impossible to predict.

A few weeks back, several reports surfaced online stating that He Jiankui is under house arrest following his revelation about CRISPR gene edited babies. Some of his colleagues even shared their worry stating that the doctor may face the death penalty for his controversial experiment.