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What we risk as humans if we allow gene-edited babies

28 6 4
21.02.2019

A SECOND woman is said to be pregnant with a gene-edited baby in China, according to reports this year. It follows revelations last November that gene-edited twins had been born, which caused much debate.

One of the fears expressed by scientists is that gene editing may result in unwanted side effects.

But beyond the health and medical concerns, what are the philosophical issues at stake here when it comes to gene-editing babies?

Undesirable mutations introduced by gene editing to sperm, eggs or early-stage embryos could be reproduced in future generations. But future generations are unable to give their consent to the risks being taken, says Francis S Collins, the former leader of the Human Genome Project and now director of the US National Institutes of Health.

The Chinese scientist responsible for the gene-edited babies aimed to produce offspring of HIV-infected fathers who will be naturally resistant to the virus.

Eliminating disease and other harmful conditions may be a laudable aim, and most people would welcome a world in which no one has to suffer from, for example, haemophilia, muscular dystrophy or other genetically carried disorders and disabilities.

SEE ALSO: Babies and other crazy things criminals sell on Instagram

Should we, shouldn’t we

Would you want a designer baby? Source: Shutterstock

Let us assume that the health risks of gene editing are exaggerated or can be eliminated.

While designer babies may be some way off, we need to start........

© Asian Correspondent