Chinese researcher’s claims of gene-edited babies prompts investigation

HE
He Jiankui, left, and Zhou Xiaoqin in the lab in Shenzhen in southern China. Image credit: Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press

A Chinese researcher who claims to have created the first gene-edited babies, He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUST), in Shenzhen, is now facing investigation over whether the experiment broke Chinese laws or regulations.

He, who led that effort, later released a video statement in which he said that healthy twin girls, Lulu and Nana, had been born “a few weeks ago.”

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On Sunday, the Shenzhen City Medical Ethics Expert Board said it would begin an investigation of He’s research and released a statement saying that HarMoniCare “according to our findings … never conducted the appropriate reporting according to requirements.”

The president of He’s university called an emergency gathering of researchers connected to the project. “This has nothing to do with SUST, the research wasn’t conducted at SUST,” said SUST president Chen Shiyi, according to Chinese media reports. …

Related article:  Viewpoint: Gene editing poised to revolutionize agriculture—if we can fix biotech regulations

A 2003 guidance to Chinese IVF clinics prohibits the transfer of genetically modified embryos to start a pregnancy. …

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It remains unclear where He carried out his research and who paid for it. …

In his video, He presented himself as a willing martyr to some higher cause. “I understand my work should be controversial, but families need this technology, and I am willing to take the criticism,” he said.

Read full, original post: The Chinese scientist who claims he made CRISPR babies is under investigation

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