Human genome editing is a method that allows scientists to change the DNA of human beings. Altering the DNA can lead to physical changes like a change in eye colour, the change in the degree of risk of contracting a disease etc. Different technologies are used by scientists to practice human genome editing to investigate the different diseases that affect humans.
Genome editing technologies were developed for the first time in the late 1900s. While the practice of genome editing is most commonly associated with Nazi Germany, it was not the only country that practised it. It is said to be practised in the US and other countries well before the 2nd World War.
Recently, a new genome-editing tool was invented in 2009 which made editing DNA relatively easier. The technology involved is called CRISPR, which makes editing the genome simpler, faster, cheaper, and more accurate than the methods used before.
The technologies deployed for practising human genome editing work like scissors that cut the DNA at a specific spot, allowing scientists to make desired alterations in the DNA structure.
Another example of this can be: just as a video editing software helps you to remove, add, or replace a particular clip from the whole video, these tools enable scientists to edit the DNA structure.
Scientists delete different genes in humans, one by one to analyze their impact on humans. This helps in finding the underlying cause of human diseases, which is heralded by scientists to cure not just chronic & rare diseases but also disabilities such as being blind, deaf, or dumb.
There are serious ethical concerns that can emerge with genome editing which can pose a threat towards distinct domains of personal safety & security of the human race.
- Genome editing may be too expensive and may widen the already existing wealth inequalities between the rich and the poor.
- The editing in germline cells would be passed down through generations and doctors shouldn’t be allowed to make any alteration of such an extent.