- In November 2018, a Chinese scientist named ‘He Jiankui’ claimed that he edited human embryos of a twin girls to make them HIV resistant. He did this to prevent passing of HIV from the twin girls’ father. He claimed that he used a gene editing tool, Crispr, which acts as a molecular scissors.
- This incident sparked debates across the world about the pros and cons of Gene-editing babies. Gene-editing of human embryos is illegal in many countries including China.
What is meant by Gene-edited babies :-
- Editing the genes of human embryos by cutting or modifying a specific strand of DNA produces Gene-edited babies.
- By using gene-editing technology, we can prevent heritable deadly diseases from passing on to the next generation.
- If we utilise this technology, it will be a boon to mankind by creating super humans.
- Negative effects of gene-editing are not known yet. It may involve causing cancerous tumours. It’ll irreversibly change the future of healthy embryos.
- Edited genes will pass onto the future generations putting many people at risk.
- In vitro fertilization may become more common than ever. This makes everything artificial.
- It has a risk of creating designer babies, that are genetically elite. For example, rich people can give birth to high IQ & stronger babies. Even the appearance can also be chosen. This creates a new type of inequality between rich and poor.
If human embryo gene-editing is made legal, it’ll be almost impossible to draw a line between designer babies and heritable disease resistant babies. After studying the implications of this technology thoroughly, it’ll be helpful if it is strictly regulated and is used only with the permission of government.
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