Lulu and Nana may seem like normal twin girls, however, according to a team of Chinese scientists, the very first genetically-edited human beings. Specifically, the research led by Jiankui He, a researcher based in Shenzhen’s Southern University of Science and Technology supposedly saw two girls have their ‘code’ genetically modified in what is apparently a completely successful project.
This consequently came after the group were running trials to alter the gene CCR5 in order to make it impervious to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that can eventually cause AIDS. To do this the team used a pair of molecular scissors known as CRISPR/Cas9 which is an emerging technology that can precisely “cut and paste” genes, meaning that the sections of DNA that needed to be altered could just be removed and replaced at will.
By using CRISPR to genetically alter CCR5, the researchers have reported themselves that they have successfully made the girls immune to HIV throughout their life. Having said all this, the research is yet to be independently verified to the necessary extent to have it published in a journal so I guess we will have to wait and see whether this is given the green light.