Chinese researcher He Jiankui – who announced on YouTube in November that he successfully modified the genes of Lulu and Nana, healthy newborn twins – has taken mankind one step closer to becoming the superpower that can triumph even nature in selecting our own genes. Scientists worldwide are appalled at Jiankui’s violation of a self-imposed moratorium by enabling the birth of genetically edited children.
But before we dread a future of designer children and super soldiers strutting around, we need to look at how germline gene editing – an inheritable change in the genetic code – may be particularly relevant for India with a high predisposition to genetic disorders and lack of affordable healthcare for the less-privileged. So, it makes sense for the country to invest in prophylactic technologies instead of therapeutic approaches. Read more