CRISPR

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

In this illustration, a broken pencil erases a drawing of a DNA double helix.
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MIT Technology Review released excerpts of Chinese scientist He Jiankui's unpublished research on Tuesday, underscoring massive ethical and practical oversights in his claim that he successfully used the gene-editing tool CRISPR to create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.

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

In this image, Chinese scientist He Jiankui sits and listens to someone speaking
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.