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6) Gene editing has opened up new vistas of opportunity, and at the same time poses immense ethical challenges. Discuss(250 words)

Topic – S&T Applications

6) Gene editing has opened up new vistas of opportunity, and at the same time poses immense ethical challenges. Discuss(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article highlights the immense opportunities opened up as a result of advancements made in the field of gene editing, and also brings out the ethical challenges that it poses. Various governments have now given a go ahead for such projects, and several advancements have taken place in countries such as China. Understanding how CRISPR CAS9 helps, and the ethical challenges posed by gene editing would be useful for mains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the advancements made in the field of gene editing, the applications arising out of CRISPR CAS9, and the various ethical challenges arising out of the technology.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that in researching how bacteria fights viral infections, a team of researchers led by Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier made a revolutionary discovery of a method of intervening in the human genome with previously unimaginable precision and efficiency.

Body

  • Explain CRISPR CAS9 – how it works and the applications. CRISPR-Cas9 has been heralded to have significant potential applications in a wide variety of areas, from agriculture to human intervention. From developing disease-resistant and pest-resistant high yield crops (without the need of environmentally harmful pesticides and herbicides) to vastly increased abilities to study the mechanisms of disease, the potential of CRISPR is such that is may have an application in every aspect of biological life.
  • Discuss the ethical issues surrounding gene editing – the problem of designer babies, lack of understanding wrt complete impact of usage of such tech etc

Conclusion – Give your view on the ethics of gene editing and discuss way forward.