Nov 26, 2018

2. Chinese scientist claims he created world's first gene-edited babies

CRISPR gene-editing tool. Photo: Gregor Fischer/picture alliance via Getty Images

A Chinese scientist says he has successfully used the gene-editing tool known as CRISPR to produce genetically engineered children, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: Gene editing has the power to spare a child from painful, fatal diseases. It also has the power to basically become a form of eugenics.

Details:

  • The scientist, He Jiankui, said he has helped create a genetically engineered pair of twins.
  • His use of the CRISPR technology "sought to disable a gene ... that forms a protein doorway that allows HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, to enter a cell," the AP reports.
  • The way the work was conducted suggests that the "main emphasis was on testing editing rather than avoiding this disease," Harvard geneticist George Church told the AP.
  • He, the scientist, was educated in the U.S. but was recruited back to China. An American scientist, Michael Deem, also worked on the project in China. This type of gene editing is illegal in the U.S.

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Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

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Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

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Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.