Editing a gene is one of the most controversial scientific discoveries in modern history. This week a Chinese scientist was forced to cancel a clinical trial due to global dissatisfaction over his ethical boundaries. But what is the arrangement of a gene?
The RT is considering what exactly the arrangement of the genes means, why it could be beneficial for people who are most at risk of disease – and how it might enumerate the beginning of the end.
What is the arrangement of a gene?
Gene regulation is a relatively new technology that allows scientists to process DNA by correcting "bad" genes or adding new ones. It is used to treat children who were predisposed to serious genetic diseases or incurable cancer, as well as to patients with HIV.
Crispr-Cas9, invented six years ago, is the leading molecular tool for regulating the gene. It allows doctors to zone into a particular region in the genetic code of the organism and effectively disable the gene.
What are the pros and cons of our health?
Of course, the excitement surrounding the arrangement of the gene and the general pro-in debate is its potential to save people who otherwise would probably inherit a terminal or frail disease. It is already used to change the immunity of people to fight diseases.
Genetic disorders that range from inconvenient to fatal can be transmitted through generations. Not only that the arrangement of the genes can eliminate the child's predisposition to cystic fibrosis, cancer or HIV, it can also save children for their children's children … you get the picture.
READ MORE: The Chinese scientist behind the claim of "gay-teen-babies" halted the trial after public discontent
However, as a relatively new scientific breakthrough, it is important to know that the long-term effects of gene regulation have yet to be determined. Gene regulation can also affect the patient's sperm or eggs, which means that complications or side effects can also affect future generations.
Furthermore, non-targeted edits are a dangerous common problem where healthy genes (or key regulatory DNA) are affected by the editing process.
What are the pros and cons moral?
Morally, the issue of regulating the gene is very much in the air. The debate rages about how science should affect the physical future of man and if such extraordinary achievements remain outside the reach of the average – or poorer person.
This week, a Chinese scientist announced that he had conducted a human trial of embryos before the process categorically proved to be safe. He Jiankui claims he successfully manages the twin genes of girls whose father is HIV-positive, but was forced to withdraw pauses after the authorities ordered an investigation into his trials.
Over a hundred Chinese researchers signed a statement stating the experiment "crazy. "
Darren Griffin, a professor of genetics at the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Kent, told the RT about his criticism of Jianqui's work, saying: "In a world where scientists, to a large extent, try to be aware of the ethical and social issues surrounding the work we do, this report leads us back to the Stone Age. "
One key moral element is the failure of adverse events after gene regulation is conducted on a fetus or child – treatment may affect their later options for parenting without their initial consent to undergo the process itself.
There is also a risk of arranging genes to turn into a futuristic form of eugenics, in which decisions about who can or can not have children are completely taken out of the people's own hands.
In his final work before he died, Stephen Hawking predicted the arrangement of a gene would lead to a superhuman race in this century. He expected that the temptation to create smarter and healthier people, or so-called "design babies," would be too much for the rich, which would eventually weaken them "unjustified people. "
READ MORE: The rich will create a "superhuman race": Stephen Hawking essays reveals a dark prediction
Griffin says ethical concerns should always be a fundamental part of such medical developments.
"Scientists can not see that they are trying to make progress in the absence of ethical limitations. An international embryo research agreement is now an absolute priority to prevent this from happening again, "Explain Griffin.
"Gene regulation of embryos has a huge promise of a series of questions, if we deal in a responsible manner and in an appropriate ethical framework. "
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