Elucidate the technical and ethical issues around Gene Therapy, Stem Cell Therapy and Synthetic Biology.

Published: January 25, 2018

Gene Therapy
Gene therapy is a technique that involves insertion of genes into an individual’s cells and tissues to treat or prevent disease.
Technical and ethical issues
Immune responses to viral vectors pose one of the major technical concerns to gene therapy. Unless genes transfer vectors are applied to immune-privileged sites successful replacement is not possible. One of the major ethical concerns is that Gene therapy could be targeted to egg and sperm cells which would allow the inserted gene to be passed to future generations. This approach is therefore controversial.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is a technique that uses the stem cells to treat various disorders ranging from non-serious to life threatening diseases.
Technical and ethical issues
The technical issue involved is control of defective regeneration and prevent loss of regeneration capacity if any arises. The main ethical issue is derivation of embryonic stem cells (ES cells) from embryos which are then destroyed. For those who believe that life begins at conception, destroying the embryonic stem cells is ethically incorrect.
Synthetic Biology
Synthetic biology involves application of engineering principles to biology. It can be implemented for re-designing biological materials and use them as new substrates to create products and entities.
Technical and ethical issues
The technical issue involved in it is that a biological “component” can be any object that can encode a DNA sequence of a specific protein. However, the problem is that the features and functions of many life “components” have not been clearly described. Ethical issue involved with this is that synthetic biology could be used for bioterrorism.

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