Saturday, April 4, 2015

News Brief by Kanika Kamal 
It seemed that altering the human genome to prevent genetic diseases or even enhance intelligence and beauty was something you only saw in science fiction movies. However, due to a new genome editing technique founded in 2012, this could soon develop into reality. 
This method has been hotly debated in the science community since its inception in 2012, and has not yet been approved for clinical use because of the potential ethical ramifications from manipulating someone’s genes artificially. Dr. George Daley believes that editing the human genome “raises enormous peril for humanity.” Because this technique is not terribly complicated, many scientists fear that doctors will take it into their own hands and start administering techniques.

            Aside from the ethical reasons detailing why artificially enhancing a human genome is problematic, there is room for error in the technique itself. In this technique, the genome is primed with its own defense system to destroy any viral DNA sequence given to it. However, the technique occasionally leads to the genome being cut at unintended sites. Additionally, replacing a defective gene with a normal one may cause unforeseen issues in humans. 
             As of right now, gene therapy still exists as a mode for altering germline genome, but it is not as efficient as the current technique in question. Scientists have called for a public discussion on the matter, including an international meeting by the National Academy of Sciences to establish rules for this genome-editing technique. Only once the topic has been heavily debated by scientists, politicians, and humanists alike, will we be closer to a decision on the future of this new method.

Wade, Nicholas. "Scientists Seek Ban on Method of Editing the Human Genome." The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 04 Apr. 2015. .

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