Legislation and social consensus needed to prevent misuse, says K. Kasturirangan, member of Planning Commission

While highlighting the need to define ethical principles to guide research studies with human subjects, K. Kasturirangan, member (science), Planning Commission, Government of India, sounded a word of caution on gene therapy, and called for regulation and legislation to prevent misuse.

“Over the years, we are witnessing that the trend of medical science is to shift away from treating the evident symptoms or organ failures in diagnosis and treatment at the molecular level. This revolution, this ability to intervene at the genetic level, has the potential to permanently change the human gene pool, and has also triggered moral debates,” he said, delivering the address at the 19 convocation of Sri Ramachandra University on Thursday.

He called for careful regulation, legislation and social consensus to guide actions against any misuse of this capability.

With India’s plans for manned space missions, he said, a new dimension needed to be created with respect to medical education to understand the physiological and psychological effects on humans in space environment, and to adopt necessary counter measures.

Mr. Kasturirangan distributed gold medals to meritorious students. MBBS graduate D. Rajmadhangi bagged four gold medals.

Chancellor of the university V.R. Venkataachalam and vice-chancellor J.S.N. Murthy were present.

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