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Chinese 'Gene-Editing' Scientist Gets 3 Years In Prison

The Chinese scientist who created the world’s first “gene-edited” babies was sentenced to three years in prison in China on Monday, according to Reuters.

Benzinga · -

The Chinese scientist who created the world’s first “gene-edited” babies was sentenced to three years in prison in China on Monday, according to Reuters.

 What Happened

A Chinese court sentenced scientist He Jiankui to three years in prison and fined him in the amount of 3 million yuan (nearly $430,000), reported Reuters, citing a post by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Jiankui was found guilty of “illegally carrying out the human embryo gene-editing intended for reproduction, in which three genetically edited babies were born,” in a court in Shenzhen city.

Why It Matters

The Chinese scientist claimed in November 2018 he used the powerful gene-editing technique called Crispr-Cas9 to create the world’s first genetically edited babies.

Jiankui, who at the time was working at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, faced widespread criticism in China and worldwide, with researchers raising concerns about the possible misuse of the gene alteration technique.

What’s Next

The court has also sentenced two of Jiankui’s research partners, Zhang Renli and Qin Jinzhou.

“The three accused did not have the proper certification to practice medicine, and in seeking fame and wealth, deliberately violated national regulations in scientific research and medical treatment,” said the court. “They’ve crossed the bottom line of ethics in scientific research and medical ethics.”