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The scientist who announced last year that he had produced the world’s first gene-edited babies has been fired by his university.
The decision, announced on 21 January by the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, in China’s Guandong province, follows a report of findings from an investigation into He’s work by provincial health authorities.
Probe - Guangdong - Health - Ministry - Regulations
A probe by the Guangdong health ministry found that He broke national regulations against using gene-editing for reproductive purposes, Chinese state media agency Xinhua reported on 21 January.
The investigation also found that He’s experiment ran counter to national regulations forbidding people with HIV from using assisted reproduction — an allegation reported for the first time in the Xinhua article. To circumvent the regulations, the article says, He got blood from HIV-negative volunteers.
Outcry - November - Technique - CRISPR–Cas9 - Embryos
He provoked international outcry last November when he revealed that he had used the gene-editing technique CRISPR–Cas9 to modify human embryos in an effort to make them resistant to HIV; the embryos were then implanted into a woman and produced twin girls, Nana and Lulu, in November.
According to the investigation’s findings, He is fully to blame for the gene-editing project, and flouted regulations and deliberately evaded oversight in pursuit of “fame and fortune”. He did not respond to Nature’s requests for comment.
Xinhua - Article - Interview - Member - Investigation
The Xinhua article was based on an interview with a member of the investigation team from the Guangdong health ministry, which had been tasked by the national health...
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