A Chinese scientist who caused a global scandal last year by giving birth to the first genetically modified babies was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday, the China news agency announced.
The researcher He Jiankui, announced in November 2018 that he had made history by having created the first gene-edited babies – a pair of twins who were born with DNA that had been altered by Jiankui.
The scientist claimed he managed to modify the babies DNA to make them resistant to the AIDS virus that their father was infected with.
The Chinese government was accused of laxity to the event, but ordered He Jiankui’s research be suspended and placed the scientist under police investigation.
Earlier in 2019, Chinese authorities confirmed that a second woman was pregnant with a child with modified DNA,.
He Jiankui was sentenced by a court in Shenzhen, the metropolis in the south of the country where he had carried out his work, for “having illegally carried out genetic manipulation of embryos for reproductive purposes,” China news agency report.
“All countries should not allow any further work in this area until its implications have been properly considered,” Tedros Adhanom, Director of the World Health Organisation commented on the use of genetic engineering to make “designer babies”.