Nov 30, 2019

Report: Location of Chinese scientist who says he created first gene-edited babies unknown

He Jiankui at the 2018 International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

The whereabouts of scientist He Jiankui, who claimed to successfully use the gene-editing tool CRISPR to create genetically engineered children, are unknown, as he has not been seen publicly since January, AP reports.

Where it stands: A Chinese government investigation found in January that He "seriously violated" state regulations, per the New York Times.

  • He was last seen in Shenzhen supervised by armed guards, per AP.
  • The Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen said it terminated He's teaching and research activities in January, as well as his contract, per NYT.

Go deeper: The ethical red flags of genetically edited babies

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Report: Huge oversights in Chinese scientist's gene-edited babies attempt

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios Visuals

MIT Technology Review released excerpts of Chinese scientist He Jiankui's unpublished research on Tuesday, underscoring massive ethical and practical oversights in his claim that he successfully used the gene-editing tool CRISPR to create genetically engineered children.

The bottom line: A primary goal of the experiment was to test if cells could be gene-edited to become HIV resistant. This could have been done without creating human test subjects, MIT notes.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

CRISPR-based gene editing treatments benefit patients with blood disorders

A researcher observes a CRISPR/Cas9 process through a stereomicroscope. Photo: Gregor Fischer/picture alliance via Getty Images

The first two patients to receive CRISPR-based treatments for their blood disorders benefited from the therapy, the two companies developing the treatment announced yesterday — a sign that gene editing may be a safe and effective way to cure blood diseases, STAT reports.

Why it matters: The two blood disorders, sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia, can have a drastic impact on patients' lives. A cure would be transformative.

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019

New York Times dropping most social media trackers

The New York Times building. Photo: Eduardo MunozAlvarez/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

The New York Times will no longer use tracking pixels from Facebook and Twitter to track its users' browser history, executives tell Axios.

What's new: The company has created a marketing tool that will allow it to target potential subscribers on platforms like Facebook and Twitter without having to leverage its users' general browsing history.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019