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China Convicts Scientists Claiming First Genetically Edited Babies

Scientists convicted of practicing medicine without license, violating Chinese regulations on research

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The Chinese scientist who claimed he had created the first genetically edited babies in the world was sentenced to three years in prison for his research, the Chinese government said Monday.

Convicted of practicing medicine without a license, He Jiankui was also fined $430,000, the Associated Press reported. Two other researchers who had been involved in the work received lesser sentences and fines, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Court documents stated that the three had not obtained qualification as doctors, pursued fame and profits, violated Chinese regulations on scientific research, and fabricated ethical review documents, the news agency added. All three defendants pleaded guilty, Xinhua reported, according to the AP.

When He announced in November 2018 that he had genetically altered the embryos of two twin girls to help them resist the AIDS virus, it sent shock waves through the scientific community and reignited a debate over the ethics of human gene editing. The United States forbids editing embryos, with the exception of doing so for medical research.

AP News Article

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