Written by: Sanvi Jethi
Have you ever wished you had or did not have some of your parents’ features? Do you want some of your genes to be passed onto your future child? Luckily, the future of genetics introduced designer babies a long time ago. Still, is it ethically correct to change the baby with gene manipulation? Many scientists question whether this should be used to treat human diseases or edit genetic makeup to change traits.
What is genome editing?
Genome editing is the ability to change physical traits in DNA, such as eye color, height and the possibility of having a heritable disease. It is performed when existing DNA is introduced to allow the removal of a specific section and addition of the replacement DNA.
CRISPR-Cas9- what is it, and how does it work?
CRISPR- Cas9 is the interspaced short palindromic repeats. Cas9 is the enzyme that cuts the DNA strands at a specific location to edit bits in the DNA itself. Guide RNA (gRNA) ensures Cas9 cuts the genome in the right place. This happens by allowing the scaffold RNA to bind to the DNA and create a guiding pathway. CRISPR- Cas9 is the most flexible form of technology for medical researchers to use. It can be beneficial when editing a genome by removing, adding, or altering the gene sequence.
Conclusion- Determining the morality
Ethical concerns such as safety, informed consent, justice and equity, arise when altering human genomes. Due to the fact that many professionals are still trying to decide if enhancing normal human traits is selfish, this technology is illegal in many countries. I believe that the type of cells edited should determine whether the procedure is ethical or not. For example, somatic cells have already been modified, such as liver cells. On the other hand, editing germline cells will cause the embryo to change and grow through every cell.