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University fires scientist behind gene-edited babies

Image: He Lab

The Chinese geneticist He Jiankui, who became internationally infamous after claiming to have genetically modified twin girls, has been fired by his university.

The Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in Shenzhen, China, announced on 21 January that it had cancelled its work contract with He and terminated his teaching and research activities at the institution. He had been an associate professor at the department of biology and had been on unpaid leave since February 2018, according to the university.

The university’s decision to end He’s contract was announced on the same day that the state news agency Xinhua reported on a preliminary provincial investigation into He’s experiment. The investigation findings suggest that He “intentionally dodged supervision” by raising funds and organising researchers on his own, to carry out work that is “explicitly banned by relevant regulations”, according to Xinhua.

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