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Now designer babies

Think of a day when we will opt for our babies as we like - designer babies.

Published On: 02-May-2019 10:15am
Updated On: 03-May-2019 12:40pm
Author: Raktutpol Bharadwaj
Article Section: Tech & Gadgets

We live now in modern times and the buzzword around is designer things...Designer houses, offices and clothes, etc. We hear that it was India's famous fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee who had designed the wedding costumes of Bollywood superstars like Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, badminton star Saina Nehwal, extra. Oh, and don't forget the wedding of Isha Ambani, India's number one billionaire Mukesh Ambani's daughter, which too was designed by Sabyasachi. Jealous tongues have wagged how Isha, in her designer Lehenga, and other celebrities having their designer suit-boots, had waltzed away to the accompaniment of the choicest jazz music and of course accompanied by the costliest of the sparkling wine raided out of Italian cellars.

But have you ever heard of designer babies? Well, now all these celebrities can have their babies too designed if news from China's Shenzhen city is to be believed. Like, the sub editors in a newspaper edit the stories to make it presentable and readable, correcting grammatical and spelling errors and removing unwanted portions, Dr. He Jiankui of the Chinese city has created two edited babies, nay genetically altered ones, in the embryo itself, if news reports are to be believed. The babies are called Lulu and Nana. It is said, Dr He has applied CRISPR-Cas9 technology to genetically edit the babies. A quick search of Google found that Genome editing (also called gene editing) is a group of technologies that give scientists the ability to change an organism's DNA. These technologies allow genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome. Several approaches to genome editing have been developed. A recent one is known as CRISPR-Cas9, which is short for "clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and CRISPR-associated protein 9".

Dr He has already got recognition for creating the edited babies unlike Dr. Subhas Mukherji who in 1978 created the first test-tube baby called Durga. He was forced to commit suicide because our scientific community ridiculed him. The credit then went to American doctor R G Edwardson, who was even conferred with a Nobel prize for IVF technology. But then is Dr. He the first to create the designer baby? Rewind to 1818. Mary Shelley at the age of 20 created the first designer baby or shall we call it monster in 'Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus'. Well, let us hope He does not succeed in creating monsters.


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