The project was decided in a closed meeting with many fearing uses for the human genome will go towards creating human beings with no biological parents.
A group of scientists have announced that they intend to start creating a version of the human genome code – a decision that some oppose to.
The announcement comes after recent breakthroughs in the world of science and genome reading. The team, who announced their plans in the journal Science believe writing the human genome is the next step and could help lead to medical breakthroughs, tackle human health challenges and potentially save lives in the future. The plan is to be able to grow new organs for patients or researching and building cancer resistance and using human cells to create much-needed vaccinations, according to an NPR report.
While the scientists involved in the plans are adamant of the positive sides of writing the human genome, many are opposed to the idea with fears that one day it could be used to create human beings who have no biological children – a door many ethically don’t want to open.
Another opposed view is the fact that the meeting used to discuss the ultimate decision was done in secret and was not widely debated.
“The perspectives of others including self-identified theologians, philosophers, and ethicists from a variety of traditions should be sought out from the very beginning,” scientists Drew Endy wrote in an essay published in Cosmos protesting the secret meeting. “Critical voices representing civil society, who have long been sceptical of synthetic biology’s claims, should also be included. The creation of new human life is one of the last human-associated processes that has not yet been industrialised or fully commodified. It remains an act of faith, joy, and hope. Discussions to synthesise, for the first time, a human genome should not occur in closed rooms.”
The project, currently named HGP-Write, is expected to take a while with plans to create the genome in the laboratory over the next 10 years and hopes to raise $100 million for funding from various sources.