The Chinese “gene doctor” who manipulated children in the laboratory

The Chinese “gene doctor” who manipulated children in the laboratory

He Jiankui announced in November 2018 that he had used a genetic technology called CRISPR-Cas9 to edit the genes of twin embryos. In this way he made the children resistant to HIV.

The response to this announcement was shock. Around the world, his research was viewed as dangerous and unethical.


The Chinese authorities soon announced that the scientist had acted on his own initiative and had also financed his research himself. In 2019, he was sentenced to 3 years in prison for not adhering to medical guidelines.

Jiankui was released again in 2022. In Interview With the Japanese Mainichi, the scientist says that after his release he established several laboratories in China, where he works on research into diseases such as Alzheimer's and Duchenne, which he wants to treat with gene therapy.

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Jiankui has always emphasized that he is proud of his controversial research. “Society will accept it in the end,” he told the Japanese newspaper.

Regarding the children whose genes were changed, he says: “They are healthy and have no problem with their growth.”

Jiankui denies that he has any new plans to produce genetically modified children. Regarding his new genetic research, he says: “We use discarded human embryos and adhere to local and international regulations.”

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