Rogue Scientist Who Created Genetically Modified Babies Defends Controversial Work

Geneticist He Jiankui, who claims to have altered the genes of twin girls born this month, speaks at the University of Hong Kong about human embryo editing. Associated Press/YouTube

Speaking after He's presentation at the conference, David Baltimore from the California Institute of Technology said: “I think there has been a failure of self-regulation by the scientific community because of a lack of transparency.”

When asked whether he would undergo this risky experiment with his own child, He firmly replied “yes”, saying that he would have used his own unborn baby if they were faced with the same situation.

The majority of fellow scientists have also commented that many questions still hang over the work, although He reaffirmed his promise that the data will be peer reviewed soon. 

“I feel more disturbed now,” said David Liu of Harvard and MIT’s Broad Institute, inventor of a variation of the gene-editing tool, according to the Associated Press. “It’s an appalling example of what not to do about a promising technology that has great potential to benefit society.

“I hope it never happens again.”

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