Was gene-edited twin experiment illegal? China has vowed to find out

BY SCMP

 

China’s science authorities vowed on Tuesday to get to the bottom of whether biologist He Jiankui (贺建奎) bypassed regulations to create what he says are the world’s first genetically edited children.

The commitment came a day after He announced in a YouTube video that healthy twin sisters were born in China earlier this month from embryos he and a team of researchers modified to switch off an HIV-related gene.

The twins’ father was HIV-positive and the intervention was meant to prevent the children contracting the virus, He said.

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But Xu Nanping, vice-minister of science and technology, said on Tuesday that he “was shocked when I saw the news of the gene-edited human embryos yesterday”.

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