Monday, December 30, 2019

China scientist who created 'world's first gene-edited babies' jailed for breaking the law

A scientist in China who said he had created the world's first gene-edited babies has been jailed for three years.

He Jiankui was convicted of violating a government ban by carrying out his own experiments on human embryos, to try to give them protection against HIV.

He was globally condemned when he announced his experiments, and the birth of twin babies, last November.

Xinhua news agency said a third baby was also born at the same time, which had not previously been confirmed.

The local government in Guangdong province said it was keeping the babies under medical observation.

As well as the prison sentence, He was fined three million yuan ($430,000; £328,000).

The court also handed lower sentences to two men, Zhang Renli and Qin Jinzhou, for conspiring with He to carry out the experiments.

A court in Shenzhen said the men had acted "in the pursuit of personal fame and gain", and had seriously "disrupted medical order", Xinhua news agency reported.

"They've crossed the bottom line of ethics in scientific research and medical ethics," the court added.

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