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. 2019 Apr 30;17(4):e3000224.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000224. eCollection 2019 Apr.

Gene-edited Babies: What Went Wrong and What Could Go Wrong

Free PMC article

Gene-edited Babies: What Went Wrong and What Could Go Wrong

Haoyi Wang et al. PLoS Biol. .
Free PMC article


During the second World Summit of Human Gene Editing, Jiankui He presented the gene-editing project that led to the birth of two baby girls with man-made C-C chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5) mutations. This extremely irresponsible behavior violated the ethical consensus of scientists all over the world. His presentation revealed a troubling lack not only of basic medical ethics but also of the requisite understanding of genetics and gene editing. Here, we review the rationale and design of his experiment along with the presented data, and provide our scientific criticism of this misconduct.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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Grant support

H.W. is supported by National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFA0107703), Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(No. XDA16010503), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31722036). H.Y. is supported by R&D Program of China (2018YFC2000100 and 2017YFC1001302), CAS Strategic Priority Research Program (XDB32060000), National Natural Science Foundation of China (31871502), Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Major Project (2018SHZDZX05), and Shanghai City Committee of science and technology project (18411953700, 18JC1410100). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.