Award-Winning Chinese Scholar's Genome Editing Research Is Questioned by Fellow Scientists
Yicai Global
/SOURCE : Yicai
Award-Winning Chinese Scholar's Genome Editing Research Is Questioned by Fellow Scientists

(Yicai Global) Oct. 11 -- The research findings of Prof. Han Chunyu, a scholar from the Hebei University of Science and Technology who won multiple honors and research funds for his work on NgAgo genome editing technology, have been called into question by 12 Chinese biologists.

The article, published in the science magazine Nature Biotechnology in May, was regarded as a significant breakthrough in the genome editing field. However, since then scientists both at home and abroad have declared that Prof. Han's experiment is impossible to be replicated and have asked him to disclose his original data. Prof. Han has yet to respond.

Prof. Wang Liming, a bioscience researcher at Zhejiang University, is one of 12 Chinese scientists questioning the published results, according to a report in The Paper. He and his colleagues have made over a hundred experiments according to NgAgo technology over a two-month period but they all failed to produce results.

Prof. Wei Wensheng, a leading genome editing scientist based at the School of Life Sciences, Peking University, said that his laboratory tried "various means" with NgAgo technology over the last few months, but there were "no positive results at all."

There are three possible reasons for the failure of groups around the world to replicate the experiments, according to Prof. Wei. First, NgAgo technology is indeed an efficient genome editing technology but some key experimental steps have been concealed. Second, this technology is able to work but with a low efficiency and the research group overstated its efficiency. Third, this technology may not work at all.

Hebei University of Science and Technology have launched an investigation, but it is still surprising how the disputed party has been awarded prizes, honors and funds, Prof. Wei said. Since the publication of the disputed article, Prof. Han has been elevated to the position of vice president of the Hebei Association for Science and Technology and received a CNY1 million (USD149,000) award from the National Natural Science Foundation. Hebei University of Science and Technology has also been granted CNY224 million by the Hebei provincial government to establish a research center for genome editing technology.

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