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China Says Gene-Editing Scientist Broke Laws to Pursue ‘Personal Fame and Gain’

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Matt Ouellette
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The scientist responsible for creating the world’s first genetically modified babies violated government bans and committed fraud, according to Chinese investigators.

He Jiankui—and those who helped him—will reportedly now be handed over to security authorities and “severely dealt with.”

Officials in Guangdong Province have completed a preliminary investigation of He’s activities, accusing the embattled scientist of violating federal laws and saying he did so “in the pursuit of personal fame and gain,” Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday.

In addition, the investigators said He forged documents, faked lab work, operated clandestinely after funding his own project, and recruited other scientists to conduct the work.

Speaking in Hong Kong at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing this past November, He shocked the world by announcing the birth of genetically modified twins.

The scientist claimed to have used the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing tool to modify human embryos and then implant them into a mother’s womb—an illegal procedure under Chinese law.

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Matt Ouellette
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