Gene editing is a rapidly advancing field of biomedical research that involves precise changes to an organism’s DNA sequence. While gene editing holds immense potential for causing genetic diseases and enhancing human abilities, it also raises concerns about unintended consequences and ethical implications. To better understand the public perception of this technology, Real Research conducted a survey on gene editing in humans.
To begin with, 58.51% of the survey respondents are very familiar with the term “gene editing,” and 24.64% are somewhat familiar.
Meanwhile, 12.44% had only heard of the concept, and 4.41% were unfamiliar.
Types of Gene Editing Technology
The survey also highlighted the most well-known approach to genome editing is Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)–(13.98%) and Programmable Addition via Site-specific Targeting Elements (PASTE)– techniques used to precisely introduce new genetic information into specific locations in the genome –(13.39%).
Notably, the least familiar approach is Zinc-finger Nucleases (NFZ), with only 10.38% being aware of it.
Advantages of Gene Editing in Humans
With the arrival of new genome editing methods, new perspectives on germline interventions have arisen. Respondents’ advantages of this technology include:
Treating genetic disorders (34.28%), preventing genetic diseases (26.77%), developing personalized medicine (22.17%), enhancing the immune system (11.53%), and enhancing intellectual abilities (4.42%). While gene editing has its advantages, there are certain risks involved.
Disadvantages of Gene Editing in Humans
One disadvantage is the possibility of unintended genetic changes (38.25%). Moreover, there is a possibility of creating new diseases (30.69%), ethical concerns with modifying the genes of embryos (19.63%), and the possibility of making permanent changes to the human genome (6.97%) were also considered a significant disadvantage.
The possible advantages and disadvantages of gene editing are often much-debated. Some feel there are far more benefits than drawbacks and vice versa. When asked about the same,
34.3% felt gene editing would have more benefits than drawbacks. In contrast, 31.12% believed gene editing would have more negative than positive consequences. Finally, 34.58% speculated gene editing would have equal benefits and drawbacks.
Should There Be Limitations in Gene Editing?
The survey also asks whether there should be limitations in gene editing; 20.49% suggest that gene editing should only be used to treat genetic disorders, and 18.77% suggest that it should only be used to prevent genetic disorders. Whereas 13.99% suggest enhancing physical abilities, and 14.12% say that it should enhance intellectual abilities.
Public Views on Gene Editing
Conclusively, it is revealed that gene editing is mostly favored (52.56%), given its advantages. Whereas 27.12% were very supportive and 25.39% were somewhat supportive. 14.53%, however, were opposed to gene editing.
In conclusion, the survey highlights various types of gene editing technology, including the most preferred among the respondents. Genome engineering is a rapidly evolving field, and its future developments hold great promise for advancing medicine, agriculture, and many other industries. However, it is essential to recognize this technology’s potential drawbacks and societal implications.
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