Shanghai — The Chinese government has ordered a temporary halt to research activities for people involved in the editing human genes, after a Chinese scientist said he had edited the genes of twin babies. Scientist He Jiankui said this week that he used a gene-editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9 to alter the embryonic genes of the twin girls born in November. His announcement, which has not been verified, sparked an international outcry about the ethics and safety of such research. "The nature of this incident is extremely nasty, and relevant bodies have been ordered to temporarily halt the scientific research activities of relevant personnel," the state news agency Xinhua said, citing the health ministry, science and technology ministry and China Association for Science and Technology. The organisers of a conference where He claimed to have edited the genes also condemned the work on Thursday, calling it "deeply disturbing" and "irresponsible". "Even if the modifications are ve...

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