BANGLADESH MEDICAL STUDIES & RESEARCH INSTITUTE (BMSRI)

Is gene editing ethical?

If you bring up the subject of gene editing, the debate is sure to become heated. But are we slowly warming to the idea of using gene editing to cure genetic diseases, or even create "designer babies?"

Gene editing holds the key to preventing or treating debilitating genetic diseases, giving hope to millions of people around the world. Yet the same technology could unlock the path to designing our future children, enhancing their genome by selecting desirable traits such as height, eye color, and intelligence.

While gene editing has been used in laboratory experiments on individual cells and in animal studies for decades, 2015 saw the first report of modified human embryos.

The number of published studies now stands at eight, with the latest research having investigated how a certain gene affects development in the early embryo and how to fix a genetic defect that causes a blood disorder.

The fact that gene editing is possible in human embryos has opened a Pandora's box of ethical issues.

So, who is in favor of gene editing? Do geneticists feel differently about this issue? And are we likely to see the technology in mainstream medicine any time soon?