AP Exclusive: First gene-edited babies claimed in China

HONG KONG (AP) — A Chinese researcher claims that he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies — twin girls whose DNA he said he altered to try to help them resist possible future infection with the AIDS virus.

There is no independent confirmation of the claim by researcher He Jiankui (HEH JEE’-an-qway) of Shenzhen. He revealed it Monday in Hong Kong to one of the organizers of an international conference on gene editing that begins Tuesday, and earlier in exclusive interviews with The Associated Press.

If true, it would be a profound leap of science and ethics. This kind of work is banned in the United States because the DNA changes can pass to future generations and it risks harming other genes.

Some mainstream scientists denounced the Chinese report as human experimentation.