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GS-III :

Gene editing, the good first and then the worries

  • 13 October, 2020

  • 5 Min Read

Gene editing, the good first and then the worries

Introduction

  • The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2020 has been awarded to two women scientists, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for the development of a method for genome editing.
  • This involved programming a Cas9 protein to cut a piece of DNA at a specific site with the help of a small piece of RNA, thereby proving the ability of CRISPR-Cas9 to function as a gene-editing tool.

News:

  • In India, since there is a long way to go before realising the utility of gene editing for therapeutic applications there can be no room for complacency. With the Chemistry Nobel thrusting CRISPR-Cas9 into the limelight, India needs guidelines for gene-editing research.

Present India:

  • In India, several rules, guidelines, and policies backed by the “Rules for the Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells, 1989” notified under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, regulate genetically modified organisms.
  • The National Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical and Health Research involving Human Participants, 2017, by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and the Biomedical and Health Research Regulation Bill deal with the regulation of the gene-editing process.

Way forward:

  • Given the lack of explicit use of the term gene editing in the existing rules, India should come up with a specific law to ban germline editing and put out guidelines for conducting gene-editing research giving rise to modified organisms.

Source: TH

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