They knew about it beforehand, but did nothing to stop it.

Internal Review

After media revealed that Chinese scientist He Jiankui had conducted research that led to the birth of gene-hacked babies, it soon emerged that he had corresponded about the controversial work with American scientists.

Three of those scientists are from Stanford University, but an internal investigation conducted by the university just cleared all three of wrongdoing, according to the MIT Technology Review. While the school's faculty knew about the controversial and illegal research, the university maintains that they didn't contribute to it.

Insider Knowledge

The three Stanford professors named in the investigation are Stephen Quake, He's former employer, William Hurlbut, who dropped the news that a second gene-edited baby was on the way, and geneticist Matthew Porteus.

The three scientists all allegedly knew about He's research but didn't directly participate, according to a statement released by Stanford on Tuesday. The statement goes even further, stating that the American researchers shared their concerns with He and that they were misled to believe that He had been granted institutional approval before beginning his experiments.

Missing from the statement, however, is any recommendation on what scientists ought to do when faced with research like He's — though the bar seems to be set, implicitly, at not actively taking part.

READ MORE: Stanford has cleared its professors over the CRISPR baby scandal [MIT Technology Review]

More on CRISPR babies: Stanford Probes Faculty Who Knew About Gene-Hacked Chinese Babies

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