The order came as organizers of a biomedical conference where a Chinese scientist defended his claim that he has created the world's first genetically-edited babies denounced his work as irresponsible. In the United Kingdom, editing of embryos may be permitted for research purposes with strict regulatory approval.
"This study has been submitted to a scientific journal for review", He said, but did not name the journal.
"The nature of this incident is extremely bad, which has seriously damaged the image and interests of the Chinese scientific and technological community", said Huai Jinpen, party secretary of the China Association for Science and Technology. The scientist also said that the university was not aware of his experiment, which he funded by himself. "I don't think it is credible that it is for a medical need".
He Jiankui at the conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
The ethical implications of modifying the genes of humans have been hotly debated for many years already, but the emergence of CRISPR gene editing technology has made it relatively easy for researchers to conduct such work if they so choose.
Biochemist David Liu, the scientist who co-invented the CRISPR/Cas9 technology that He said he used in his experiment, also noted that it was unnecessary."The father is HIV positive and the mother is HIV negative".
"I disagree with the notion of stepping out of the general consensus of the scientific community", Stanford University ethicist William Hurlbut tells the AP. Doudna, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, says she hopes CRISPR will someday be used to edit bad diseases out of the human genome.
Irresponsible: After his presentation, He was quizzed by audience members about his work.More news: Airstrike on Syria rebels accused of chemical attack
Leading scientists said there are now even more reasons to worry, and more questions than answers, after He's talk.
However, he added, "I must apologise this result was leaked unexpectedly", He also said of the apparent breakthrough "The clinical trial was paused due to the current situation".
The university said that it had "no knowledge of this work" and that to its knowledge, the work was not performed in the U.S.
Harmonicare Medical Holdings, which owns the Shenzhen hospital, said in a filing Tuesday that it believed signatures on an application to the hospital's medical ethics committee had been forged, and that the committee never met to review He's proposal. But the AP reports that he has since left Hong Kong, saying through a spokesperson, "I will remain in China, my home country, and cooperate fully with all inquiries about my work".
He's experiment would be prohibited under Chinese laws and regulations, according to state media CCTV, citing remarks by deputy minister of China's Ministry of Science and Technology Xu Nanping.
Chinese law does not mention the use of Crispr, the revolutionary gene-editing technique that He used to alter the twins' genetic code.
Experts warned that editing human embryos can create unintended mutations in other areas - so-called "off-target effects" - which can have an impact through the lifetime.