The Latest: Scientist speaks publicly on gene-editing claim

Feng Zhang, center, an institute member of Harvard and MIT's Broad Institute, is surrounded by reporters while speaking on the issue of world's first ...
Feng Zhang, center, an institute member of Harvard and MIT's Broad Institute, reacts to reporters on the issue of world's first genetically edited bab...
Feng Zhang, center, an institute member of Harvard and MIT's Broad Institute, speaks to reporters on the issue of world's first genetically edited bab...

Feng Zhang, center, an institute member of Harvard and MIT's Broad Institute, is surrounded by reporters while speaking on the issue of world's first ...

Feng Zhang, center, an institute member of Harvard and MIT's Broad Institute, reacts to reporters on the issue of world's first genetically edited bab...

Feng Zhang, center, an institute member of Harvard and MIT's Broad Institute, speaks to reporters on the issue of world's first genetically edited bab...

HONG KONG (AP) — The Latest on a scientist's claim to have made the world's first gene-edited babies (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

A Chinese scientist on Wednesday made his first public comments about his claim to have helped make the world's first gene-edited babies.

He Jiankui (JEE-ahn-qway) of Shenzhen detailed the work that he said led to the births earlier this month of twin girls whose DNA he altered when they were conceived.

The work is highly controversial because the changes can be passed to future generations and could harm other genes.

He spoke Wednesday at a conference on gene editing in Hong Kong, the first time he's discussed his experiment in a public venue.

He says he altered the DNA of twin girls when they were conceived to try to help them resist possible future infection with the AIDS virus.

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10:30 a.m.

A prominent American scientist is warning against a backlash to the claim that a Chinese scientist has helped make the world's first gene-edited babies.

Harvard Medical School dean Dr. George Daley says it would be unfortunate if a misstep with a first case led scientists and regulators to reject the good that could come from altering DNA to treat or prevent diseases.

Daley spoke Wednesday at an international conference in Hong Kong, where the Chinese scientist, He Jiankui (HEH JEE-ahn-qway) of Shenzhen, also is scheduled to speak.

He says he altered the DNA of twin girls when they were conceived to try to help them resist possible future infection with the AIDS virus.