China’s Gene-Editing Scientist Jailed for Three Years in Modified Baby Case

(South China Morning Post) Chinese scientist He Jiankui, who created the world’s first “gene-edited” babies, has been sentenced to three years in prison and fined 3 million yuan (US$430,000).

He, along with two others named Zhang Renli and Qin Jinzhou, was convicted by a Shenzhen court on Monday on charges related to the “illegally carrying out human embryo gene-editing intended for reproduction,” which led to the births of three genetically edited babies, according to state news agency Xinhua.

The scientist, from the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, claimed in November last year that he had manipulated the embryos with a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR in a bid to make them immune to HIV infection.

He – who has been called “China’s Frankenstein” – dropped the bombshell that healthy twin girls had been born with edited genes via a video posted on the internet. He went silent for two days before revealing the existence of another pregnancy involving a gene-edited baby.

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