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Designer babies and the future

  Jul 22, 2017

Designer babies and the future

The IVF question
In Vitro Gametogenesis (IVG)
CRISPR/Cas9 system
Challenges
The jury is still out on the merits or otherwise of having “such designer babies” in the midst of normal human beings.
1.Such interventions raise some serious concerns such as off-target mutations and mosaicism. In the former situation, CRISPR could miss the target gene and attach to another similar sequence, thereby creating properties far different from the intended outcomes.
 
2.Another challenge is that it requires policy deliberation with respect to unauthorized IVG, which involves making babies out of human cellular debris without the explicit consent of the donor.
Indian scenario
 
IVG’s promises, therefore, come with huge responsibilities in terms of developing rigorous, internationally accepted scientific protocols as well as clear ethical norms and practices. There is a strong need for global conversations around this issue, with India and her stakeholders—ranging across government, the scientific establishment, and the LGBT community—being active participants. Though technology has advanced considerably in the last four decades or so, developments such as IVG compel us to ask roughly similar ethical queries. Who knows how far is far enough—except in hindsight.