Controversial Scientist Pursues Gene Editing to Combat HIV & Alzheimer’s

In November 2018, Chinese genetic scientist He Jiankui sent shockwaves through the world by claiming to have created HIV-resistant newborn twins using CRISPR gene editing technology. Despite facing backlash, He now embarks on a new mission: using “base editing” to tackle Alzheimer’s disease.

A Fresh Approach to Disease Prevention

Alzheimer’s, a devastating neurodegenerative ailment affecting millions globally, stands as He’s latest target. With “base editing,” He aims to halt the progression of this incurable condition, offering hope to countless families grappling with its impact.

Navigating Ethical and Legal Waters

While He’s aspirations hold promise, they stir controversy. Current U.S. laws and medical ethics confine gene editing to lab animals for safety trials. Nonetheless, He’s advancements could revolutionize disease prevention if proven effective.

Lessons from Past Controversy

He’s prior feat, altering the DNA of newborn twins for HIV resistance, drew widespread condemnation. Critics cited ethical quandaries and potential unforeseen repercussions, emphasizing the need for ethical oversight in genetic research.

Controversial Scientist Pursues Gene Editing to Combat HIV & Alzheimer's

Confronting Consequences

In December 2019, He faced the repercussions of his actions, receiving a three-year prison sentence and hefty fines. Additionally, a lifetime ban from genetic research underscores the gravity of his missteps.

Diving into Gene Editing Techniques

Understanding gene editing nuances is crucial to grasp He’s work. CRISPR, a revolutionary tool, acts like a “cut-and-paste” for DNA, while base editing offers a more precise approach, altering individual DNA components.

CRISPR vs. Base Editing

CRISPR, with its ability to replace entire DNA strands, risks introducing harmful mutations. Conversely, base editing, with its targeted alteration of DNA chemicals, presents a refined approach to genetic modification.

Looking Forward

As He explores base editing, cautious optimism pervades the scientific community. While regulatory hurdles and ethical considerations loom, He’s strides offer a glimpse into the future of genetic medicine.


He Jiankui’s bold pursuit of gene editing epitomizes scientific innovation’s transformative potential. Despite controversies and legal ramifications, his work illuminates genetic research’s limitless potential in combating humanity’s most daunting health challenges.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.