FAST FIVE: Gene-Edited CRISPR Twins May Have Supercharged Brains, And Silicon Valley Wants In On It
Silva, whose lap discovered a link between CCR5 and the brain's ability to form new connections. “The simplest interpretation is that those mutations will probably have an impact on cognitive function in the twins,” says Silva, adding that the exact effect on the girls' cognition cannot be predicted, which is “why it should not be done.” Jiankui's human experiments drew harsh rebuke after news of Lulu and Nana's birth in late October or early November, and has reportedly been fired from his position at the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in Shenzhen, China.
News of the first gene-edited babies also inflamed speculation about whether CRISPR technology could one day be used to create super-intelligent humans, perhaps as part of a biotechnology race between the US and China.
What's more, people missing at least one copy of the gene seem to go further in school, suggesting a possible role in everyday intelligence. -MIT Technology Review “We are the first to report a function of CCR5 in the human brain, and the first to report a higher level of education,” said UCLA biologist S.
“My reaction was visceral repulsion and sadness.” He Jiankui acknowledged that he knew about the potential cognitive benefits of removing the CCR5 gene discovered by the UCLA team during a Q&A session, though he said “I am against using genome editing for enhancement.” The benefits of CCR5 removal are currently being tested on both stroke patients and people with HIV-induced memory issues. In those studies, one of which is under way at UCLA, people are being given an anti-HIV drug, Maraviroc, which chemically blocks CCR5, to see if it improves their cognition.
The work in mice demonstrates the answer may be yes,” said Silva.