A Chinese researcher claiming to have led a team on genetically modified babies is now under investigation, as well as an American professor who could have helped him.
He Jiankui, associate professor at the China University of Science and Technology South Shenzhen, on Monday revealed his gene editing work to an organizer of an international conference on gene modification in Hong Kong. He told The Associated Press that he had modified the DNA of the twins born this month to resist the HIV and AIDS virus. He said that he had modified the embryos of seven couples under fertility treatment, but that he had had only one pregnancy outcome.
No independent journal or source has verified its claim for gene editing, an illegal practice in the United States. The babies' parents did not want to be identified publicly.
The Shenzhen University said Monday in a declaration that the school was not aware of the research, which violates its academic ethic. The school also said that he was under investigation. He had been on leave since February 1 st and was not scheduled to return until January 2021.
Shenzhen authorities are also investigating.
More: AP Exclusive: The first genetically modified babies claimed in China
An American professor, Michael Deem of Rice University, is also being investigated in the United States because of his alleged involvement in research on He.
In addition, more than 100 scientists have signed a petition calling for stricter regulation of gene editing experiments in response to He's claim.
Contribute: The Associated Press. Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets
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