Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Medical Internet Research

Publication Date




Page Number

DOI: 10.2196/31687


gene editing, babies, medical research


Law | Medical Jurisprudence | Science and Technology Law


In November 2018, a Chinese researcher reported that his team had applied clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats or associated protein 9 to delete the gene C-C chemokine receptor type 5 from embryos and claimed that the 2 newborns would have lifetime immunity from HIV infection, an event referred to as #GeneEditedBabies on social media platforms. Although this event stirred a worldwide debate on ethical and legal issues regarding clinical trials with embryonic gene sequences, the focus has mainly been on academics and professionals. However, how the public, especially stratified by geographic region and culture, reacted to these issues is not yet well-understood.


The aim of this study is to examine web-based posts about the #GeneEditedBabies event and characterize and compare the public’s stance across social media platforms with different user bases.



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