Scientists unveil synthetic Human Genome Project-Write
A group of scientists from United States recently proposed an ambitious project named as Human Genome Project-Write (HGP-Write) to create a genetic blueprint or synthetic human genome.
The project aims to develop technologies to more efficiently and more cheaply write DNA (synthetic genome) and test it in cells in the laboratory within 10 years.
- The objective HGP-Write is to write the genetic code (DNA of life) rather than reading the genetic code.
- The project envisions on the same scale as the Human Genome Project-Read (HGP-Read) which had sequenced human genome in 2003.
- HGP-Write seeks to reduce the cost of engineering DNA segments synthetically in the laboratory.
- It also aims at improving the ability to chemically manufacture DNA, with one of the goals being to synthetically create an entire human genome.
- Potential applications: Growing transplantable human organs, engineering cancer resistance, engineering immunity to viruses and accelerating vaccine & drug development using human cells and organs.
This project raises concern over the extent to which human life can or should be engineered. It also raises troubling ethical concerns as this project has potential of creating children with no biological parents.