Advisor Under the Microscope

News that Chinese scientist He Jiankui created the first gene-altered babies drew widespread condemnation—and questions about who might have stopped him.
He’s Chinese university claimed Stanford professor and bioengineer Stephen Quake helped He; Stanford is now investigating Quake’s role. Quake maintains he advised He—a postdoctoral student in Quake’s lab 8 years ago, working on unrelated research—to seek ethical approval from Chinese institutions and undergo peer review.
The accusations raise key questions, writes Pam Belluck: “When and where should scientists report controversial research ideas that colleagues share with them in confidence? Have scientists acted inappropriately if they provide conventional research advice to someone conducting an unorthodox experiment?”

The New York Times

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