Scientist who claimed to have created ‘gene edited babies’ jailed

A Chinese scientist who claimed to have created ‘gene edited’ babies that were resistant to HIV has been jailed for three years for unethical practices.

He Jiankui faced a global backlash in 2018 when he announced the birth of twin girls who he claimed he had successfully ‘gene edited’ to make them immune to HIV.

Now he has been found guilty of “illegally carrying out the human embryo gene-editing intended for reproduction,” according to China’s official state news agency Xinhua.

He has been sentenced to three years in prison and fined $3,000,000 yuan (AUD$607,710). Two of his associates were also charged with the same crime.

Zhang Renli was sentenced to two years and fined one million yuan (AUD$202,570), with colleague Qin Jinzhou handed a suspended 18-month sentence and a 500,000 yuan fine (AUD$101,285).

The court declared the three researchers were not qualified medical doctors and did not have the appropriate permissions to conduct their research.

All three were found to have knowingly violated the country’s regulations and ethical principles to practice gene editing in assisted reproductive medicine.

The court said their acts were “in the pursuit of personal fame and gain” and have seriously “disrupted medical order.”

OIP Staff


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