China’s National Health Commission (NHC) has ordered Guangdong authorities to investigate a researcher’s claims that he has helped create the world’s first genetically altered babies.

He Jiankui, an academic at the Southern University of Science and Technology in the southern city of Shenzhen, said that he altered the embryos from several couples who were undergoing fertility treatment, claiming one pregnancy has resulted so far. Lulu and Nana, twin girls, have already been born, claimed He.

He said that his goal is not to battle inherited diseases, but create immunity to HIV and AIDS. However, his research has not been independently verified or published in a journal, which would allow other researchers to verify the results through independent experimentation.

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Chris Udemans

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.