BEWARE OF FAKE INSTITUTES WITH SIMILAR NAMES. blank    blank
banner

Designer Babies: Science, Ethics, and Legalities



  Apr 22, 2024

Designer Babies: Science, Ethics, and Legalities



What is a designer baby?

A designer baby refers to a human embryo that has been genetically modified, typically using techniques like CRISPR-Cas9, to influence traits such as appearance, intelligence, or disease predisposition. This genetic modification is done very early in the embryo's development to ensure the changes are carried throughout all cells of the body.

How does gene editing work?

Gene editing involves altering the DNA of an organism at precise locations. The most common technique used today is CRISPR-Cas9, which functions like molecular scissors. It can be programmed to target specific stretches of genetic code and to edit DNA at precise locations. Researchers use CRISPR to cut the DNA at a specific point, after which the DNA can either repair itself or be given a piece of new DNA to incorporate, leading to genetic changes.

What are the potential benefits of creating designer babies?

Disease Elimination: One of the most cited benefits is the potential to edit out genes that cause hereditary diseases, potentially eradicating diseases like cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, and Huntington’s disease from an individual’s lineage.

Enhanced Traits: Beyond disease, there is potential for enhancing traits such as strength, intelligence, or appearance, though this is more controversial and raises significant ethical questions.

What are the ethical concerns with designer babies?

Inequality: Gene editing could lead to increased social inequalities if only the wealthy can afford access to this technology to enhance their offspring with desirable traits.

Consent: An embryo cannot consent to genetic alterations, raising concerns about consent and the rights of individuals to an unaltered genetic code.

Unintended Consequences: There is much still unknown about genetic editing, and changes could have unintended side effects, potentially introducing new diseases or vulnerabilities.

Is gene editing legal?

The legality of gene editing varies by country. Most countries have stringent regulations regarding germline (heritable) gene editing due to ethical and safety concerns. In many places, it is illegal to implant a genetically edited human embryo, although research may be permitted under specific conditions.

What are the potential risks of gene editing in humans?

The risks include off-target effects (where unintended parts of the genome are edited), mosaicism (where some cells contain the edits while others do not), and the long-term impacts on the gene pool. There is also a significant concern about the lack of understanding regarding the complex interactions between genes and the environment in human biology.

How far are we from seeing designer babies become common?

Despite the technical feasibility increasing, the widespread use of gene editing for creating designer babies is still largely speculative and controversial, primarily because of ethical, legal, and social challenges. The scientific community and regulators are very cautious, and there is ongoing international debate about if or how such technologies should be used.



SRIRAM's

 


Share:
 

Get a call back

Fill the below form to get free counselling for UPSC Civil Services exam preparation

 
UPSC DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS

 
RBI’S MONETARY POLICY STANCE
 
French Revolution and India
 
MUSLIM WOMEN UNDER SECTION 125 OF CRPC:
 
BASTILLE DAY
 
INDIA-BASED NEUTRINO OBSERVATORY (INO)
 
India's Critical Minerals Strategy
 
Conflict in Sudan:
 
ASIAN PROTECTIONISM:RESPONSE TO CHINESE OVERCAPACITY
 
IVF Treatments in India
 
Indian quantum cryptography discovery
 
Climate Change : Loss and damage fund
 
INDIA’S FERTILITY RATE DYNAMICS AND IMPACT
 
East China Sea Tensions:Senkaku Islands
 
Green steel and the hydrogen-based DRI production method
 
NABARD's Agri-SURE Fund: Simplifier