Briefing: Chinese university fires scientist who modified baby genes

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Researcher who created gene-edited babies has been fired – New Scientist

What happened: The Southern University of Science and Technology in the Chinese city of Shenzhen has fired He Jiankui, the scientist who stunned the world last year after announcing he had created gene-edited babies. The university said in a statement on its website that it will “rescind the work contract” with the researcher and terminate his teaching and research activities at the institution.

Why it’s important: He’s termination comes shortly after a preliminary investigation by provincial authorities that found the scientist had “illegally conducted the research in the pursuit of personal fame and gain.” The case has now been handed over to China’s Ministry of Public Security, which will conduct its own investigation. Importantly, the results of the preliminary investigation do not confirm He’s claims. Verification would require an independent team to replicate He’s results, which would mean taking samples from the babies, and publishing their findings for peer review.