BEIJING-Chinese investigators have determined that the doctor behind the reported birth of two babies whose genes had been edited in hopes of making them resistant to the AIDS virus acted on his own and will be punished for any violations of the law, a state media report said Monday.
It's hard to interpret without knowing who was involved in the investigation and what they did, but it "does indicate that there is a system of regulatory controls in China that can be brought to bear on any effort to prematurely use this technology", which may be a better way to regulate it than an outright ban, she said.
He Jiankui said in November that he used a gene-editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9 to alter the embryonic genes of twin girls born that month, sparking an global outcry about the ethics and safety of such research.
But such gene-editing work is banned in most countries, including China. This included faking an ethical review certificate to recruit eight volunteer couples.
He reportedly assembled a team that included foreign staff, all of whom intentionally evaded surveillance and used "technology of uncertain safety and effectiveness to perform human embryo gene-editing activity with the goal of reproduction, which is officially banned in the country". "Effective immediately, SUSTech will rescind the work contract with Dr. Jiankui He and terminate any of his teaching and research activities at SUSTech", according to the school's statement.
The university added the decision came after a preliminary investigation by the Guangdong Province Investigation Task Force.
Mali: Ten UN peacekeepers killed in 'jihadist' attack
Ten UN peacekeepers from Chad have been killed in an attack by suspected Islamist militants in northern Mali, the UN says. Eight peacekeepers have so far been confirmed dead and several others were wounded, he added in a statement .
United Airlines passengers delayed on board plane for 16 hours
Chris Liew, who was traveling to Hong Kong for a meeting on Monday, said the the passengers were stuck for at least 16 hours. The airline apologised to those affected in a statement and said it would do everything possible to assist them.
Kamala Harris Is Running for President in 2020
In one brief signed by Harris, the court was encouraged to stay the order because hormone treatment was sufficient for the moment. Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, faced at least one question about her heritage on Monday.
The scientist, He, could not be reached for comment.
He Jiankui recently stated that there is "another potential pregnancy" involving a second couple at a human genome forum in Hong Kong, according to the Xinhua news agency.
"The report will hopefully set an example with appropriate legal and punitive actions to reassure the public and scientific community", said Yalda Jamshidi, a genomics expert at Britain's University of London.
Following the initial results of the investigation reported by Xinhua, Yalda Jamshidi, reader in Genomic Medicine at St George's, University of London, said the Chinese investigators appeared to confirm that the birth of the gene-edited twins were the result of "a series of poor decisions".
Gene editing for reproductive purposes is effectively banned in the US and most of Europe.
He will be "dealt with seriously according to the law", and his case will be "handed over to public security organs for handling", Xinhua said. "There is no further clarification on what measures will be taken to prevent this happening in future, nor what will be done as punishment for He Jiankui's lack of regard for policy, the patients and the scientific community".