China's CRISPR Twins - First MetaHumans With An Enhanced Brain?
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China’s CRISPR Twins – First MetaHumans With An Enhanced Brain?

Yet again, the China CRISPR Twins – Lulu & Nana are under the limelight. Its suspected that while genetically editing the babies, He Jiankui might have accidentally enhanced their brains increasing their memory & cognition powers.

Last year Chinese researcher He Jiankui claimed to have made the world’s first genetically edited babies via CRISPR. While the aim behind the experiment was to make the babies immune to HIV & AIDS, he might have inadvertently enhanced their brains.

He, while genetically editing the babies attempted to eliminate a gene called-CCR5 to make them immune to HIV infections as the HIV virus requires this gene to enter the blood cells. But as per the latest research, edits made to CCR5 gene might have various consequences. Similar Experiments conducted on mice not only made the mice smarter but it could also improve brain recovery after stroke and can be linked to greater success in school.

Findings published by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, with one of the authors being Alcino J. Silva – a neurobiologist, whose lab unveiled a new role for the CCR5 gene in memory and the brain’s ability to form new connections – Confirms this

news. In a statement to Technology Review, Silva confirmed that He’s CRISPR based genetic modification attempt might have affected the babies brains.

“The simplest interpretation is that those mutations will probably have an impact on cognitive function in the twins,” he said. Silva said it was impossible to predict the exact effect the genetic editing will have on the twins’ cognition.“That is why it should not be done,” he said.

In an attempt to uncover the truth, MIT Technology Review team connected with researchers studying the effects of CCR5 gene and found out that He, never got in touch with any of the specialized brain scientists for any kind of scientific advice or support. It is being speculated that the Jiankui was very much aware of the link between CCR5 and cognition, yet he proceeded.

While discussions on this matter are still on the run globally among the research community – it is not yet confirmed that Lulu & Nana are the first Metahumans in the history with enhanced brain power.

DC & Marvel have already taken us for a drive through a world of metahumans, genetically modified superheroes – bet it the Flash or the Hulk. On the top, this news of babies with enhanced brains will knock out the image to another level.

Preety
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