When Chinese researcher He Jiankui revealed that he had edited the embryos of twin girls to protect them from HIV, it triggered an international uproar. Critics said he had crossed a red line. Now Denis Rebrikov, a geneticist in Moscow, wants to edit embryos of a deaf couple to prevent them from passing on the mutation that compromised their hearing. Unlike He, Rebrikov is open about his plans, seeking high-level regulatory approval, and addressing the critics head on. Pulitzer Center grantee Jon Cohen traveled to Russia to meet with Rebrikov, the couple, bioethicists, geneticists, and Ministry of Health officials.
Denis Rebrikov, a DNA sequencing specialist at the Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University in Moscow, has attracted worldwide scrutiny for plans to fix mutations in human embryos before their implantation.
A Moscow couple considering having a second child shares a genetic mutation that guarantees any son or daughter will have hearing loss.