A preliminary investigation into the creation of gene-edited babies in China has concluded that Chinese researcher He Jiankui “illegally conducted the research in the pursuit of personal fame and gain”, reports the Xinhua state news agency. An investigating team set up by the Health Commission of China in southern Guangdong province said on Monday that He had avoided supervision, raised funds and organised researchers on his own to carry out the work. The case has been referred to the ministry of public security, which investigates suspected crimes. The report stops short of confirming that the genome-edited babies – created using the CRISPR method – really do exist. Xinhua refers to “the claimed ‘genetically edited babies’”, so we still have no independent confirmation beyond what He has said.
The Xinhua report also states that gene-editing human embryos for the purpose of reproduction “is banned by Chinese law”, which may have serious repercussions for He.
Also an interesting read: Who are the investors supporting He Jiankui, the Chinese scientist behind the gene-edited babies? on South China Morning Post.