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Islamic Perspectives on Polygenic Testing and Selection of IVF Embryos (PGT-P) for Optimal Intelligence and Other Non–Disease-Related Socially Desirable Traits

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submitted on 2024-01-15, 08:35 and posted on 2024-01-16, 10:25 authored by A. H. B. Chin, Q. Al-Balas, M. F. Ahmad, N. Alsomali, M. Ghaly

In recent years, the genetic testing and selection of IVF embryos, known as preimplantation genetic testing (PGT), has gained much traction in clinical assisted reproduction for preventing transmission of genetic defects. However, a more recent ethically and morally controversial development in PGT is its possible use in selecting IVF embryos for optimal intelligence quotient (IQ) and other non–disease-related socially desirable traits, such as tallness, fair complexion, athletic ability, and eye and hair colour, based on polygenic risk scores (PRS), in what is referred to as PGT-P. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning–based analysis of big data sets collated from genome sequencing of specific human ethnic populations can be used to estimate an individual embryo’s likelihood of developing such multifactorial traits by analysing the combination of specific genetic variants within its genome. Superficially, this technique appears compliant with Islamic principles and ethics. Because there is no modification of the human genome, there is no tampering with Allah’s creation (taghyīr khalq Allah). Nevertheless, a more critical analysis based on the five maxims of Islamic jurisprudence (qawa'id fiqhiyyah) that are often utilized in discourses on Islamic bioethics, namely qaṣd (intention), yaqın̄ (certainty), ḍarar (injury), ḍarūra (necessity), and `urf (custom), would instead reveal some major ethical and moral flaws of this new medical technology in the selection of non–disease-related socially desirable traits, and its non-compliance with the spirit and essence of Islamic law (shariah). Muslim scholars, jurists, doctors, and biomedical scientists should debate this further and issue a fatwa on this new medical technology platform.

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Published in: Journal of Bioethical Inquiry
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English


Springer Nature

Publication Year

  • 2023

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This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Islamic Studies - HBKU
  • Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics - CIS

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