China sentences gene-editing scientist to 3 yrs jail


Beijing, A Chinese court on Monday sentenced scientist He Jiankui to three years in prison for illegally carrying out human embryo gene-editing intended for reproduction, in which three genetically edited babies were born.

The Nanshan District People’s Court of Shenzhen said that He, a former Associate Professor at the Southern University of Science and Technology, and two others were convicted of illegal medical practice, reports Xinhua news agency.

Zhang Renli and Qin Jinzhou received jail terms of two years and 18 months with a two-year reprieve, as well as fines. According to the verdict, the three, not qualified to work as doctors, had knowingly violated the country’s regulations and ethical principles to practice gene editing in assisted reproductive medicine.

It said that their acts were “in the pursuit of personal fame and gain” and have seriously “disrupted medical order. He claimed in November 2018 that the world’s first genetically edited babies were born with their DNA altered to prevent them from contracting HIV. The news prompted an immediate investigation from authorities.

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