Genetics

Nature beats nurture when it comes to causing diseases, study finds

Photo of baby twins
Photo: Sigarru/iStock by Getty Images

Genes play a larger overall role than environment or socioeconomic factors in causing human diseases, according to a comprehensive analysis of health insurance data, including a large cohort of twins, according to a Nature Genetics study published Monday.

What's new: Nearly 40% of human diseases can be linked to genetic factors, while 25% are at least partly driven from the environment. However, socioeconomic factors only play a modest role, the scientists find.

The whereabouts of the scientist who says he created first gene-edited babies

Scientist He Jiankui
Photo: Zhang Wei/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Chinese scientist He Jiankui, who claimed last month that he successfully created the first genetically engineered babies, is being kept under close guard while he remains under investigation by the Chinese government, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Dr. He was spotted this week for the first time since the conference where he presented his findings at a university guesthouse in Shenzhen. The Times says he's currently under guard at the guesthouse by "a dozen unidentified men." The revelation that he used the gene-editing tool CRISPR to create genetically modified twins has sparked international outrage over the ethical questions of using the technology to engineer a human.

Go deeper: Gene editing moves into a frightening new stage

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