Scientists and biology experts have responded with shock, anger and alarm to a Chinese researcher's request that he has helped to make genetically-edited firstborn babies.
Jiankui, University of South China's Science and Technology, said he had changed a DNA of two women born earlier this month to try and help them to resist the possible infections of the AIDS virus in the future – suspicious, ethical and scientific.
There is no independent confirmation of what he says, and has not published in a magazine where other experts could review it.
He revealed on Monday in Hong Kong where a gen editing conference is underway, and then in unique interviews with The Associated Press.
Responding to the claim was quick and strict.
Over 100 scientists signed a petition calling for more oversight of genes editing experiments.
The university where he is based on said he will hire specialists to research, saying that the work "cuts great ethics and academic standards".
A spokeswoman said he had been absent from teaching since the beginning of this year but he continues on the faculty and has a laboratory at the university.
Authorities in Shenzhen, the city in which a Laboratory has located, has also launched an inquiry.
Generating genes is a way of rewriting DNA, the life code, to try to supply a missing gene that is needed or disable one that causes problems. It has only recently been placed in adults to treat severe diseases.
Editing eggs, sperm or embryos is different, as it makes permanent changes that can be transferred to future generations. Its risks are unknown, and leading scientists have called for a moratorium on its use other than in laboratory studies until more is being learned.
Concerns were raised about how he says he is going on, and one of the participants really understood the potential risks and benefits before registering to seek pregnancy with edited embryos .
He says he started work in 2017, but was only earlier this month he reported on a Chinese register of clinical trials.
Confidentiality concerns have been compounded by the lack of proof of their claims. He stated that the parents involved had refused to be identified or interviewed, and would not say where they lived or where the work was done.
Other experts even ask if the claim could be false.