Various emerging technologies in the life sciences space – such as synthetic biology, gene editing and artificial intelligence – have the potential to influence human health, productivity and boost economic growth. The Takshashila Institution believes that India needs to embrace this technology and promote its development, whilst creating governance mechanisms that will safeguard India’s people and national interests.
Gene Editing for humans: Takshashila proposes an open regulatory framework to manage this rapidly emerging technology depending on the ethical and scientific considerations of the application. We recommend fundamental research to be allowed unimpeded, with incrementally stringent regulatory oversight for any application that is meant for commercial use.
The use of genetically modified mosquitoes for alleviating human diseases such as dengue or malaria has been proposed. While this is a welcome use of the technology, a risk assessment of its impact on the environment and extensive public engagement is necessary before deployment of such mosquitoes.
Advances in gene editing have led to fears that the technology may be used for bioweapon creation. While gene editing likely lowers the barriers to creating bioweapons, India can tackle the problem by playing a stronger role in global and regional dialogues to enforce the provisions of the Bioweapons Convention and strengthen domestic biodefence capabilities.