1. You are the head of the Ethics Committee on Genetic Engineering. Your job is to examine the ethical dimensions in the field of genetic engineering. One day you receive an application for ethical clearance from a big pharma company which is planning to launch the technology of embryonic gene editing. This technology shall help expecting parents to have children with desired traits and qualities. Moreover, it shall also reduce the risk of chronic diseases in the lifecycle of the newly born.
You get a felling that allowing this technology will create a controversy. A section in the society feels that it would be immoral to interfere with God’s creation. Moreover, such decision would also leave the poor and marginalised sections deprived of the fruits of the new technology as it is highly expensive. On the other hand, the scientific community backing this technology believes that such a ground breaking success should not be wasted on moral or ethical grounds. It has always been in the nature of human beings to innovate and invent, thereby, improving the quality of life. Gene editing would be immensely beneficial for humanity as it would open endless possibilities for improving human life and alleviate their sufferings.
What decision would you take in this regard? Substantiate your view point with suitable reasoning. (250 Words) (20)
Gene editing is a new age technology offering immense potential in medical field. However, it is also mired with social, religious and economic repercussions.
The debate involves various stakeholders like
- Rich section of society
- Poor section of society
- Scientific community
- Disabled and diseased population
- Public health institutions
- Ethical committee
- Pharma companies
Pros of new technology:
- Reduced medical burden by curing chronic diseases and advancement in medical field.
- Prevents disabilities in children, both physical and mental.
- Strengthen the human resource of the nation, as more skilled people are available.
- Violation of the law of nature that induces both good as well as bad traits in a human.
- Increased inequalities as poor cannot access this expensive technology and rich by using it can become better skilled.
- Increased misconceptions in society as bad traits will be considered undesirable and every one will run for a standard set of traits.
- Unending competition, as everyone will be more or less equally skilled might create chaos and is undesirable in a healthy functioning society.
With the involvement of a lot of stakeholders, it is better to adopt a consultative approach in this case.
- Involving stakeholders to brainstorm and provide their inputs and views regarding the technology.
- Enacting a stringent legislation to keep checks on malpractice and abuse of the technology.
- Appropriate and extensive testing of the technology before allowing it in commercial sphere.
Only when the above conditions are met, the technology can be allowed for public use while keeping checks on its usage.
Best answer: Swapnil