Chinese scientist who created CRISPR babies could face death penalty

He Jiankui
YouTube: South China Morning Post

In 2018, a Chinese scientist named He Jiankui shocked the entire world of medical science after he claimed to have created babies using CRISPR gene editing. After a few days, some of his colleagues alleged that Jiankui is missing and later, it was confirmed that the scientist is in house arrest.

Even after a month, He Jiankui is still under house arrest and the legal action that he is going to face from the communist regime of China still remains uncertain. As per Chinese local media reports, Jiankui and his family are living in an apartment on the campus of the Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen. As his legal status continues to be in a dilemma, some of Jiankui's colleagues shared their fear that the scientist could face a death penalty.

Recently, Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, who works at the Francis Crick Institute in London organized a press conference in London and raised concerns about Robin's whereabouts.

"It's not clear whether he's under guard, meaning house arrest or the guards are there to protect him. I suspect both. There is an official investigation led by the ministries of science and health. Lots of people are probably going to lose their jobs, he wasn't the only one involved in this obviously. So how has he got them to do all this work? He could be had up on all sorts of charges of corruption and being guilty of corruption in China these days is not something you want to be," said Robin Lovell-Badge, Newsweek reports.

Robin Lovell-Bridge also defended Jiankui's experiments and revealed that his colleague was trying to do something good, and really pivotal for the future of mankind. Robin added that Jiankui continued his experiments for the betterment of mankind, even after repeated warnings from his friends fearing his fate.

After the birth of CRISPR gene edited babies named Lulu and Nana, Jiankui faced widespread criticisms from all corners, citing both moral scientific reasons. Critics alleged that the lives of these babies will be in the shadow of uncertainty as nobody knows precisely what was changed in their genetic code.

This article was first published on January 9, 2019