Science & Technology
Gene-edited babies scientist under house arrest
By T.K. Randall
January 7, 2019 · 6 comments
Authorities did not take kindly to news of Dr He's experiments. Image Credit: sxc.hu
The scientist responsible for creating the world's first genetically edited babies is facing serious repercussions.
Late last year, it was reported that an HIV-positive woman in China had given birth to two baby girls who had undergone gene editing in an effort to prevent them from contracting the disease.
The team responsible, which was led by He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology of China in Shenzhen, attempted to disable the gene CCR5 which is responsible for producing a certain protein that HIV binds to when it infects someone.
Volunteers were found for the experiment by offering HIV-positive couples free IVF treatment in exchange for participation in what was described as an "AIDS vaccine development program."
Now however, it has emerged that Dr He, who received widespread condemnation from the scientific community for carrying out the procedure, is currently under house arrest.
Both he and his wife were reportedly spotted on the balcony of a university guesthouse in Shenzhen, China where they are believed to be under heavy guard by "a dozen unidentified men".
"There is an official investigation led by the ministries of science and health," said Professor Robin Lovell-Badge of the Francis Crick Institute in London. "Lots of people are probably going to lose their jobs, he wasn't the only involved in this obviously. So how has he got them to do all this work ?"
"He could be had up on all sorts of charges of corruption and being guilty of corruption in China these days is not something you want to be."
"Quite a few people have lost their heads for corruption."
Source: Live Science
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