After Analyzing CRISPR Work Done By Chinese Researcher, Scientists’ Verdict Is That It’s Way Worse Than Initially Realized
Ethical criticism of He Jiankui's work has been coming in fast and furious over the past week. But now scientists are also criticizing the research itself, saying it's plagued with massive technical shortcomings. His results show that “this was all a terrible idea in basically every way,” said Erik Sontheimer, who studies CRISPR in his lab at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
'CRISPR Babies' Experiment More Flawed Than Scientists First Realized
When He Jiankui unveiled data last week on the two baby girls born from embryos whose genes he had edited with CRISPR-Cas9 — the world’s first “CRISPR babies” — his 59 slides flew by in a 20-minute blur, leaving scientists in the audience of the International Summit on Human Genome Editing desperately taking iPhone pictures for later scrutiny. Now many of them, as well as researchers who watched the webcast of the Hong Kong summit, have had time to analyze the data. The verdict: What He did is way worse than initially realized. (Begley, 12/5)
He Jiankui, Scientist Who Gene-Edited Babies, Missing
Last Monday, Chinese scientist He Jiankui made a startling announcement at a scientific conference: He claimed that he had produced the world’s first genetically altered babies. On Wednesday, he reemerged to defend his work and reveal another “potential pregnancy” within his study. He hasn’t been seen or heard from since. (Paiella, 12/4)