Government policy, given the pace at which technology is evolving, needs to be dynamic to capture the best that such advancement can offer. The UK, in the last couple of weeks, would surely qualify as one of the best examples of such thought put to practice. The country’s law-makers last week cleared what is popularly termed three-person fertilisation—a technology that eliminates inheritable mitochondrial DNA mutations (m-DNA comes solely from the mother) that are often at the root of debilitating cardiac and neurological conditions. This is one of the most significant developments in reproduction-related technologies after in vitro fertilisation pioneered by UK doctors 37 years earlier. Three-person fertilisation involves the replacement of the mutation-carrying mitochondria in the ovum with a compatible donor mitochondria—the involvement of a third, non-parent individual in reproduction had raised ethical and medico-legal issues, but the UK lawmakers sided with science, in view of the upsides this technology could have.
The country, with the objective of becoming a world leader in driverless technology and its adoption, is planning a code of practice that will allow testing of robotic vehicles. This will pave the path for a seamless adoption of the technology. The UK government is looking at rewriting significantly many laws that would affect the adoption, including traffic laws. By the time the rest of the world moves to autonomous vehicles, the UK could well have the regulatory structure for these apart from the infrastructure adaptation required. Meanwhile, in India, we are still sitting on the adoption of GM crops.