He may (or may not) have brought the world's first genetically modified human child with CRISPR-Cas9, but He Jiankui shoes…
He may (or may not) have brought the world’s first genetically modified human child with CRISPR-Cas9, but He Jiankui shoes are probably not the most comfortable in the world right now.
According to reports from Chinese media, the location of the genetician is currently unknown.
It has been reported that he is a resident of the South University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, the institution involved with him and from whom he has been on leave since February.
The University has denied this, a spokesman who told South China Morning Post “Right now, no information is correct, only the official channels are.”
He has not been seen public since Wednesday last week when he participated in the second International Human Resource Summit in Hong Kong to clarify his claims.
He ratified the world last week when in an interview with the Associated Press, and then a series of YouTube videos, he announced that he successfully edited the genome of human embryos with CRISPR-Cas9 ̵
1; and then these embryos, twin girls, had successfully was produced.
His, if he claims, is true, and there are those who think that, even if they are not yet to be verified independently, would be huge.
Not only because they were the first “designer babies” in the world, but because he tried to perform this experiment without supervision or approval, and against regulations.
It is a massive ethical misconception, and the scientific community has generally been criticized for his actions.
Mix the reasons for this: First, we do not know the long-term risks. Secondly, he edited something completely unnecessary. Third, it was a germline editing – which means it will go on to the children‘s offspring. Fourth, he did all this without any transparency. Fifth, this will absolutely shake public confidence in future use of CRISPR-Cas9.
According to the Chinese Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese authorities have condemned the experiment as “extremely abominable in nature” and a violation of Chinese law, via Deputy Science and Technology Minister Xu Nanping.
The Southern University of Science and Technology released a statement that distinguishes itself from his work saying that it “violates academic ethics and academic norms” seriously.
The Chinese Science Union has also condemned research announcing that it “opposes so-called scientific studies and biotechnology applications that violate the spirit of science and ethics.”
He is facing an investigation by the Southern University of Science and Technology and the China Ministry of Science and Technology, which has banned him from conducting further research, reports South China Morning Post .
His collea gue, bioengineering professor Michael Deem of Rice University in the United States, is also under investigation for his potential role in the process.
If university officials have knowledge of the place of residence of the genetician, they themselves.  “We can not answer any questions about the issue right now, but if we have any information, we will update it through our official channels,” said the spokesman.