Super Genius DNA-Chapter 195: Micro-dust (11)

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Chapter 195: Micro-dust (11)

After the press conference, He Jiankui chased after Young-Joon. He grabbed Young-Joon and went to the emergency staircase behind the conference room.

“Doctor Ryu, why are you doing this to me?” He Jiankui said to Young-Joon.

“Do what?”

“Didn’t we make a deal? I do the micro-dust reduction plan, and in exchange, you’ll save me by keeping the CCR5-modified baby alive.”

“I said I would protect that baby, but I made no decisions about you. And the decision I made now is that you should be punished.”

“Damn it!”

He Jiankui turned around.

“Damn it!”

He swung his fists in the air out of frustration.

“Listen to me, Doctor Ryu. I thought you and I could be good friends. Genius scientists are who change the world, people like us. To be honest, small sacrifices are inevitable!” He Jiankui shouted. “But in turn, people like you and me make a better future. I thought you were like me, Doctor Ryu. I thought you were a progressive who believed that the advancement of science was always good.”

“That’s right,” Young-Joon said. “Doctor He Jiankui, I believe the advancement of science is always good, like you said.”


“But in my case, the method and the results must be good as well.”

“Sigh... There’s no getting through to you.”

He Jiankui let out a sigh.

“Doctor He, do you know about eugenics?”

“Are you trying to lecture me with some old story from undergraduate textbooks?”

“Doctor Galton, the cousin of Darwin, who wrote the theory of evolution, came up with the idea of breeding humans based on Darwin’s theory, like breeding cows or pigs. If you keep breeding individuals that produce more milk, you’ll eventually get a breed of cows that produce more milk because they will get all those genes.”


“Galton thought he could improve the quality of humans by allowing only the best people to have offspring and limiting the reproduction of inferior people. And there was a man who was so impressed with his book that he personally wrote a letter to Doctor Galton, saying that he would make this book his second Bible. Do you know who that is?” Young-Joon asked. “It was Adolf Hitler. The Nazis committed the Holocaust under the insanity of eugenics. They weren’t just killing for strategic purposes to maintain their military regime; Hitler was an actual believer in eugenics. The first people they killed were the disabled people in Germany because in their minds, they were evolving the human race by exterminating inferior genes.”

“Stop it. What are you comparing me to?”

“Science has to be as delicate as it is radical, otherwise you’re going to get another monster like the Nazis. I’m in favor of the genetic modification of embryos, but biology that shakes us to the core has to be handled very carefully.”

“No, no, it doesn’t, Doctor Ryu. Scientists just do what scientists can do. Philosophers are the ones who think about what humans should do,” He Jiankui said. “Doctor Ryu, the only thing a scientist should worry about is what can be done, not what should be done.”

“I don’t think so. I think a scientist like Linus Pauling, who was at the forefront of the anti-war movement even though it disrupted his research and cost him the Nobel Prize, is someone who fulfilled the duties of a true intellectual.”

He Jiankui gritted his teeth.

“Doctor Ryu, there are large deposits of aluminum along the eastern coast of China, and the minister of the SAMR is promoting its development as an important national project,” He Jiankui said. “A massive industrial complex will be built there, and given the magnitude and location, the amount of micro-dust that will blow into Korea will be incomparable to before.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes. When the westerlies blow into Korea, the amount of micro-dust is about one hundred micrograms per cubic meter, right? The government sends out an alert to refrain from long periods of outdoor activities with just that, right?” He Jiankui said. “After that industrial complex is built, the amount of micro-dust will surpass one thousand micrograms per cubic meter. There’s a possibility it will be as bad as old Beijing or New Delhi in India. I was going to stop that.”


“But you burnt this bridge. The only scientist in China who could persuade the State Administration and Market Regulation was me, and you missed the opportunity.”

Young-Joon shrugged.

“I guess we’ll wear masks.”

“Remember when I told you that Korean scientists lack the ability to track down the source of micro-dust and use it as evidence to build a case like the Swedish scientists did? You can talk about Pauling and lecture me about eugenics because you have the skills, but most scientists in Korea don’t. And it’s not just Korea; I won’t yield to all these lowly, greenhorn scientists talking about ethics and hindering the progress of science,” He Jiankui said. “Doctor Ryu, I’m giving you one last chance to take back your deal with me. The factories that are being built in the aluminum zone are already raising their smokestacks, and Korea isn’t capable of dealing with the consequences. Are you really going to stand by and let this happen, which could pose the greatest risk to public health in Korea?”

“There’s nothing I can do.”

“Damn it! Doctor Ryu, aren’t you the national hero of Korea? Are you going to hold your people’s lives hostage because of your company’s damages?”

“You seem to be repeating the same thing over and over again, and frankly, I’m getting a little tired of it. Is there anything else you want to say?” Young-Joon asked.


“You said you would participate in the moratorium, so I’ll be expecting you there. Then, I’ll be on my way.”

* * *

Most of the scientists who intended to participate in the moratorium were people who had made significant contributions to embryology, embryonic research, or the use of genetic scissors. Due to their high standing in the academic community, most of them had extremely busy lives, and their schedules were always full.

Additionally, Young-Joon’s symposium was scheduled on such short notice. This made it difficult for participants to adjust their schedule. They didn’t have a choice but to attend given the circumstances and Young-Joon’s personal invitation. However, in order to go, they had to remove some activities or reschedule them.

Young-Joon understood that, so he gave them about two weeks until the symposium started; it was the best and the least he could do.

During those two weeks, the aluminum industrial zone along China’s eastern coast was developing at a rapid pace. This was because He Jiankui had actually encouraged the SAMR to accelerate the dredging.

“Build the stacks higher,” He Jiankui said to Xin Mao with a hint of madness in his eyes.

“Well, I was planning to do it no matter what you said because it was already being dredged, and it was a big capital investment,” Xin Mao replied with a dissatisfied look on his face. “You were about to be arrested by the bureau, but they’re temporarily reprieving you because of the moratorium, you know that? I’ve assured them that you won’t be a flight risk, so why don’t you behave yourself for a while instead of poking around?”

But He Jiankui didn’t stop; he even encouraged Atmox to invest more.

“Will this really work?” Wang Wei asked He Jiankui nervously.

If Atmox decided to go head-on against A-GenBio, it was obvious they were going to be absolutely destroyed. However, He Jiankui said he came up with a new way to beat them, and that was why he was encouraging Wang Wei to invest more money on the factories. For Wang Wei, who was already a well-known tycoon in China, establishing a factory zone was not a difficult task.

“Anyone would go bankrupt if they got hit with a ten billion-dollar bomb, but if I can stop it by raising the smokestacks of some factories...”

Wang Wei poured more money into the eastern coastline. As time went on, the date of the symposium became just around the corner.

* * *


Three scientists were doing an experiment in a small biology lab at West China Hospital. Two of them were American, and one of them was Chinese. They were scientists who came from A-GenBio for emergency assistance. They were masters of embryology and predicting protein folding. They were helping Young-Joon in developing a treatment for Mimi, the CCR5-modified baby.

“I can’t believe I’m doing research somewhere else again,” Jaob said in pain.

“But it’s nice to travel to China. And besides, Doctor Ryu paid for all our travel expenses,” said Clay.

“Yeah, but it’s no good because it’s Sichuan, it’s so dusty here. I went to Korea because of this,” said Wang Zhubing, a new doctor at A-GenBio from Sichuan.

“Speaking of dust...” Clay said. “Mimi is in a sterile room, right? But can a Delta-32 mutation in CCR5 make someone like that? It’s a mutation that exists in nature, like He Jiankui said.”

“True,” Wang Zhubing agreed.

“And I heard it’s not even because she has a major disease. But they’re keeping her in a sterile room because she’s very susceptible to various pathogens,” Jacob said.

They stared at him with wide eyes.

“What do you mean? She’s a newborn baby?” Wang Zhubing asked.

“That’s right.”

“Newborn babies are born with antibodies from their mothers, so they have almost the same immunity as their mothers until those antibodies are depleted,” Clay pointed out.

“That’s right. It’s one of the basics of immunology,” Jacob said, nodding.

“But having to go into a sterile room means either the mother’s immunity was that low, or there’s something wrong with the genes involved in the baby’s immunity...”

Wang Zhubing paused. All three of them realized the same thing. What they’ve developed now was a type of genetic modification using Cas9; they were going to correct the target DNA in hematopoietic stem cells. It was similar to the gene surgery that bypassed dendritic cells.

The target DNA was Delta-32, the mutated site in the CCR5 gene. Young-Joon had the three of them prepare the surgical procedure, which involved cutting the target location in the patient's sample DNA using Cas9 and inserting normal CCR5.

Clay glanced down at the plastic container he was holding. Though it wasn’t visible, the fifty-microliter aqueous solution contained a fragment of the normal CCR5 gene. They were going to insert Cas9 and this DNA fragment into the baby’s lymph nodes. This would spontaneously cause a break in the mutated DNA site in the cell, and then it would be repaired using the normal DNA fragment as a template. It was like patching a torn-up pair of jeans.

“There’s something other than Delta-32 at that site,” Jacob said. “He Jiankui made a mistake while using Cas9, and another mutation exists near Delta-32. That’s what destroyed the baby’s immunity.”

“God... Doctor Ryu probably already knows, right?” Wang Zhubing asked.

“Of course. He already saw the baby’s data from the DNA analysis machine at A-GenBio,” Jacob said. “Our responsibility stays the same, which is to finish this treatment. Doctor Ryu will take care of the rest.”

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