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A controversy is escalating over whether a gene-editing technique proposed as an alternative to the popular CRISPR–Cas9 system actually works.

Three months ago, Han Chunyu, a biologist at Hebei University of Science and Technology in Shijiazhuang, reported that the enzyme NgAgo can be used to edit mammalian genes. Now, an increasing number of scientists are complaining that they cannot replicate Han’s results — although one has told Nature that he can.

Han says he receives dozens of harassing calls and texts each day, mocking him and telling him that his career is over — but he is convinced that the technique is sound. He also told Nature that he had submitted a detailed protocol to the online genetic-information repository Addgene on 8 August, at Addgene’s request, and hopes that this will help efforts to reproduce his work. Nature Biotechnology, which published the research, is investigating the matter.

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Image: By Difference engine – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44407521

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