U.S. Professor Didn't Help With Chinese Designer Babies, Lawyers Say

(Bloomberg) -- Lawyers for Rice University professor Michael Deem denied that he was involved in the controversial human-embryo editing experiment that led to the birth of two Chinese twins who may be resistant to HIV.

According a Nov. 26 Associated Press article, Deem, a professor of biochemical and genetic engineering, said he took part in the work of controversial Chinese researcher He Jiankui. The Chinese scientist announced in November that he had edited human embryos, leading to the birth of genetically engineered twins. The research hasn’t been published in a scientific journal nor been independently verified.

After an immediate public uproar, Rice University began an investigation into Deem’s possible involvement.

In a statement to Bloomberg on Wednesday, Deem’s lawyers denied that he had ever been involved in human research, including in the Chinese case.

“Michael does not do human research, and he did not do human research on this project,” said David Gerger and Matt Hennessy, Houston-based lawyers for Deem.

Deem was He’s Ph.D. adviser at Rice a decade ago, in a field that didn’t involve human research, and the two have stayed in touch since then, the lawyers said.

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