The reported birth of genetically altered twins using CRISPR-Cas9 genetic modification technology has rightly drawn widespread condemnation for a host of reasons. I’d like to join that chorus and focus on what this reprehensible episode says about the research culture and the educational system that helps shape it.
It’s easy to think of He as an outlier, a rogue scientist following a solitary path to unethical research. But that isn’t the case. Before taking an academic position at the Southern University of Science and Technology of China in Shenzhen, He completed his doctoral work at Rice University and his post-doctoral work at Stanford University, two premier U.S. biomedical research institutions.