Genetic Enginering Essay, Research Paper
Fountain of Youth?
Science continues to evolve at a much higher rate than the beings that gave it birth. The transformation time from ape, to human far exceeds the time from an abbacus, to a computer. However, science, in the past, has always remained distant, it has allowed for advances in production, transportation, and even entertainment, but never in history has science be able to so deeply affect our lives as genetic engineering will undoubtedly do. With the birth of this new technology, scientific extremists and anti-technologists have risen in arms to block its future by spreading fear by misinterpretation of facts; However, genetic engineering is a safe and powerful tool that will yield unprecedented results, specifically in the field of medicine; by which it will usher in a world where gene defects, bacterial disease, and even aging are a thing of the past!
Understanding genetic engineering and its possibilities for society, is to obtain a rough knowledge of its history and method. The basis for altering the evolutionary process is dependant on the understanding of how individuals pass on characteristics to their offspring. Genetics first discoverey of the secrets of nature s evolutionary process is when an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel developed the first “laws of heredity.” These early laws concluded that each organism has two sets of character determinants, or genes. Genes are transmitted through chromosomes which reside in the nucleus of every living organism s cells. Each chromosome is made up of fine strands of deoxyribonucleic acids, or DNA. The information carried on the DNA determines the cells function within the organism. DNA discovery is attributed to the research of three scientists, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and James Dewey Watson in 1951. They were all later accredited with the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine in 1962.
Thank’s to the these scientists discovery, the new science of genetic engineering aims to take a dramatic short cut in the slow process of evolution.. In essence, scientists aim to remove one gene from an organism s DNA, and place it into the DNA of another organism. This would create a new DNA strand, full of new encoded instructions; a strand that would have taken Mother Nature millions of years of natural selection to develop. Isolating and removing a desired gene from a DNA strand is more complicated than it sounds. DNA can be broken up by exposing it to ultra-highfrequency sound waves, but this is extremely inaccurate. A more accurate way of DNA splicing is the use of restriction enzymes, which are produced by various species of bacteria . The restriction enzymes cut the DNA strand at a particular location called a nucleotide base, which makes up a DNA molecule. Now that the desired portion of the DNA is cut out, it can be joined to anothe strand of DNA by using enzymes called ligases. The final important step in the creation of a new DNA strand is giving it the ability to self-replicate. This can be accomplished by using special pieces of DNA, called vectors, that permit the generation of multiple copies of a total DNA strand and fusing it to the newly created DNA structure. Creating these new hybrid DNA molecules could ultimately help create a perfect human being!
Ever since biblical times the lifespan of a human being has been pegged at roughly 70 years. But is this number truly finite? In order to uncover the answer, knowledge of the process of aging is needed. A common conception is that the human body contains an internal biological clock which continues to tick for about 70 years, then stops. An alternate “watch” analogy could be that the human body contains a certain type of alarm clock, and after so many years, the alarm sounds and deterioration beings. With that frame of thinking, the human body does not begin to age until a particular switch is tripped. With the aid of genetic enginering stopping this process would simply involve a means of never allowing the switch to be tripped. The Institute of Molecular Biology, proposes that the alarm clock theory is true. It provides evidence for this statement by examining the similarities between normal aging and the symptoms of a hormonal deficiency disease associated with the thyroid gland. They propose that as we get older the pituitary gland begins to produce a hormone which blocks the actions of the thyroid hormone, causing the body to age and eventually die. If this theory is correct, conquering aging would simply be a process of altering the pituitary s DNA so it would never be allowed to release the aging hormone. In the years to come, genetic engineering may finally defeat the most unbeatable enemy in the world, time.
The morale and safety questions surrounding genetic engineering currently cause this new science to be cast in a false light. Anti-technologists and political extremists spread incorrect interpretation of facts coupled with statements that genetic engineering is not natural and defies the order of things. The morale question of biotechnology can be answered by studying where the evolution of man is, and where it is leading our society. After all is it not natural order for humans to come up with these new theories?