It is April 2020, and China, at the moment of writing, isn’t the most loved country in the world. Conspiracy theories about the Chinese creating a biological weapon has dominated the internet. While it is hard to tell whether the reports are indeed true or false, it is undeniable that the Chinese are masters at the laboratory. For instance, in 2018, a group of Chinese scientists created something remarkable.
Using the CRISPR Cas9 tool to edit the DNA of mice, a group of Chinese scientists was able to produce two mouse pups from two female parents. Why drove those scientists to take up the research? Well, they wanted to understand the reason why some reptiles and amphibians could reproduce with one parent of the same sex. And also, why mammals couldn’t.
The research team also developed mouse pups from two male parents, and unlike the offspring of the female pups who grew to adulthood and had another generation of mice, the offspring from the male experiment didn’t survive after two days.
Zhou Qi, a co-author of the study was published in the American scientific journal Cell Stem Cell. In that publication, he says “the offsprings from previous researches usually showed some deformity in terms of growth before or after their birth.” He added that, “a third DNA region was deleted, to produce bimaternal mice. That is, mice those from two mothers, with normal growth and behaviours.”
What Does This Mean For The Human World?
Can the result of this study be used on humans too? Although the CRISPR Cas9 tool can be used to rectify a lot of genetic errors. It still raises serious questions over the ethicality of the procedure. Technically, with the use of the tool, people would be able to choose what genetic traits they want for their offsprings. This might seem like a pretty cool thing to do, but many gene scientists didn’t welcome it. Because it could upset the gene pool and bring grave consequences on humanity.
So, until the curiosity of another scientist is tickled, the tool will only be used for research purposes.