Chinese "gene-editing" scientist sentenced to 3 years in prison
Researcher He Jiankui (R) at the Direct Genomics lab in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China, 2016. Photo: Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images
A court in China sentenced researcher He Jiankui to three years in prison and fined him 3 million yuan (nearly $430,000) for "illegally carrying out the human embryo gene-editing intended for reproduction," the state-run Xinhua reported Monday.
Why it matters: The Chinese scientist's claim in November last year that the world’s first genetically edited babies had been born from embryos he modified using the gene-editing tool known as CRISPR raised ethical concerns.
- MIT Technology Review revealed further ethical and practical oversight issues in He's research. He also claimed to be involved in the birth of a third gene-edited baby following the twin girls' birth.
The big picture: The court in south China's Shenzhen city gave two other people, Zhang Renli and Qin Jinzhou, "lesser sentences and fines," AP reports.
- Zhang was imprisoned for two years and ordered to pay a 1 million yuan fine, and Qin was fined 500,000 yuan and given an 18-month sentence, "but with a two-year reprieve," per AP.