BEIJING – China said Thursday that it had interrupted the work of a researcher claiming that he created the world’s first genetically edited child and said his behavior appeared to be unethical and contrary to Chinese law.
Scientist Han Jiankui announced Monday that he had used the Crispr redistribution method to change embryos, which he implanted in the uterus of a woman who gave birth to girls this month. At an international conference on Wednesday, he claimed he was proud of what he had done.
Xu Nanping, China’s Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, said that Dr. Hans’s work was still being investigated. But on the basis of news reports, he said: “He seemed to have” blatantly violated China’s relevant laws and regulations “and broke” the baseline of morals and ethics that academic society follows “, China Central Television reported on Thursday.
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The suspension follows international condemnation by researchers claiming that Dr. Hans’s behavior was unethical. They say there are serious unanswered questions about the safety of embryo editing and a need to ensure that such research is conducted in an openly monitored manner so that the technology is not abused.
Mr. Xu had previously said that Chinese rules issued in 2003 allow reproductive experiments on embryos for f emergency purposes, but only if they remained viable for a maximum of 14 days.
On Monday, a group of 122 Chinese researchers gave a statement Dr. He is “crazy” and his claims “a big blow to the global reputation and development of Chinese science.”
At the Second International Human Resource Summit in Hong Kong on Wednesday, Dr. He that he had not made his university in China aware of the research he did. He said that he initially paid for the research himself, later on from his university funding.
Dr. He drove back to suggestions that he had been secret about his work and said that he had presented preliminary aspects of it at conferences and consulted with researchers in the United States and elsewhere. He said he had left his research for a scientific journal for review and was not expected to present it at the conference.
Dr. He had planned to speak again at the conference on Thursday, but his talk was interrupted.
Robin Lovell-Badge, a professor of genetics and embryology at the Francis Crick Institute in London, moderated the Wednesday session, said in an email that “it would have been difficult to have adequate security” for a second call. He said that Dr. He decided not to attend when he was told about security arrangements.
Dr. Lovell-Badge said Thursday that the organizers had considered it “important to give Dr He a platform to present what he had done”.
“We do not regret that he can present yesterday but give him another opportunity today may also have been regarded as support for him,” he said. “There is another reason that the committee did not want him back today.”