A preliminary investigation conducted by China's Guangdong Province has found He Jiankui performed his gene-editing work illegally, according to the state news agency Xinhua.
He announced in November the birth of twin girls whose genomes he had edited as embryos. This revelation led to not only consternation among much of the scientific community, but also investigations into the work.
Xinhua adds that Guangdong investigators found He avoided supervision of his work, raised funds for it himself, and oversaw his own research team to develop gene-editing embryos for reproduction, in violation of the law. It also alleges that He forged an ethical review certificate. The investigators say, according to Xinhua, that He pursued this work for "personal fame and gain."
Southern University, where He had been employed, fired him, New Scientist reports, noting that it appears He used few, if any, of the school's resources in his gene-editing work. The university had previously placed He on unpaid leave.
The investigation, the Associated Press adds, also appears to confirm that a second pregnancy stemming from He's work is underway. He had announced that pregnancy during a presentation at the International Human Genome Editing Summit in November.
Xinhua adds that the twin girls and the expectant mother will receive follow-up medical care, and that the case may be referred to the public security department.