"This research raises troubling scientific, legal and ethical issues," said Doug Miller, director of the Rice University Media Relations team. In a statement, Miller said Rice had "no knowledge of this job".
He claims to have used a tool called CRISPR-Cas9, able to insert or disable certain genes, to modify the DNA of several embryos to make them resistant to HIV.
Deem did not respond to CNN's calls and emails, but told the Associated Press that he was in China with the families at the time they gave their consent and were "absolutely "convinced to have understood the risks.
Deem also stated that it holds "a small stake" and serves on the scientific advisory board of two of He's companies.
According to Rice University, no clinical work has been done in the United States, but "wherever it was conducted, this work described in the press releases violates the guidelines of scientific conduct and violates ethical standards. science." community and Rice University. "
Matthews wrote in an email that she "had been surprised yesterday, like many others, to discover that Professor Deem had participated in this research". Adding that she had only recently started working with Deem, she said she had "seen nothing to suggest that Professor Deem's scientific work was involved," and she did not believe nor would data contained in a co-author's article be affected.
"If Professor Deem had informed me of his work using CRISPR on human embryos to develop a baby, I would have been extremely cautious in using this technology on human embryos and expect more from risk data before using embryos handled for pregnancy, "Matthews wrote.
According to the university, "the son of rice farmers in Hunan Province, China," he was the lead author of Deem in a paper presenting a mathematical model that could determine within two weeks whether a new strain of the flu should be included in the virus. the annual seasonal flu vaccine. The model of the World Health Organization takes up to six months.
"Jiankui is a very influential student," said Deem in 2010. "He has done a fantastic job at Rice, and I'm sure he'll be very successful in his career."
Oscar Holland and CNN's Serenitie Wang contributed to this story.