BEIJING – Chinese authorities have asked universities in the country to report before Dec. 31 illegal gene-manipulation experiments carried out in the last five years, the official Global Times reported on Thursday.
The notice, issued by the Department of Science and Technology under the Ministry of Education, is the latest response by Beijing to the controversy triggered by Chinese scientist He Jiankui’s revelation on Nov. 26 that he had created the world’s first genetically-modified babies, allegedly resistant to HIV infection.
The authorities are now demanding that universities report before the end of this year all illegal experiments – those that allow edited genes to survive more than 14 days – conducted since Jan. 1, 2013.
The centers affected by the notice include those in which research on human genetics has been carried out as well as hospitals affiliated to international projects.
A staff member at the South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou told Global Times that, since the furor caused by He’s disclosure, supervision of the university’s experiments has been tightened.
“More surprise inspections have been conducted recently by both national and provincial authorities,” the expert said.
China has been investigating He’s case since Nov. 29 but has yet to make the findings of the probe public.