A question of ethics

At a recent conference on bio-ethics, scientists-expressed, the need to check the, misuse biotechnology

 
By Frederick Noronha
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

At a recent conference on bio-ethics and-issues relating to new technologies, scientists and legal eagles of the country expressed concern about the recent experiment of the cloning of sheep and the future of genetic engineering. Participants at the meet said that there is a need to "guard diligently against the misuse of the ability to design our descendants with careful regulations, legislation and societal consensus', at the four-day conference - the first of its kind in India - organised in May in Goa.

Science critic and recipient of the' Alternate Nobel Right Livelihood Award, Vandana Shiva, felt that scientists today were grappling with concerns of social responsibility. She added that India could be a leader in "putting the brakes on the misuse of biotechnology". The conference also discussed the extent to which parents could be allowed to choose the genetic characteristics of their offspring in an age of 'designer babies'.

The participants raised questions about human genome research and whether there should be any national or international legal protection for it. "The research has created ethical dilemmas because of the growing commercial interest in human genetics, - said the president of the National Academy of Science, P N Tandon.

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