Genetic Engineering Essay, Research Paper
Two years ago, genetically engineered bacteria, which unexpectently killed beneficial soil fungi, escaped into sewers through human error and have become toxic to plants and survived when expected not to.3 These are the sorts of consequences that come with playing God. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) – the chemical compound that makes up the genes and determines the type of proteins a cell can make – is the core of genetic engineering. It can be manipulated in ways we could never dream of such as a new species of a catwoman or fishman.
There are so many questions that each person must ask each other before making any sort of decision that would effect the future of genetic engineering towards humans. The risks of DNA combinations can be enormous and unexpected such as the formation of bacteria resistant to antibiotics, linkage of DNA molecules with tumour-causing viruses and the introduction of toxin-formation or antibiotic resistant genes.1
Thus all risks must be taken into consideration. Genetic engineering has already been demonstrated in cattle and studies have shown linkage of DNA molecules with ulcers, cancer and heart disease.1
Unfortunately, regulation of biochemical research ethics has been erratic and half-hearted for years. The United States allowed its only national bioethics commission to expire in 1989. 2 As for in-vitro research, the Reagan Administration cancelled federal funding a decade ago. 2 So work in this area has been privately funded and unregulated disallowing any prevention of experiments and research of highly debated subjects, such as cloning.
Reports on genetic engineering show that scientists and reporters rarely reveal the powerful dangers at present. It just shows that some regulation is desperately needed. Even if it only limits the media and other publications. People need to know the truth and the whole truth and nothing but the truth, which includes both sides, good and bad, and in this case, especially the bad.
To many people, it is also a moral or ethical consideration. Many people feel strongly that it is not for us to decide what each person is going to look and act like. To them, the idea of playing God is an outrageous sin. If we look at this picture and understand the concept behind “The Angel weaving our genes to create us”,2 we see the importance of listening to other people and their beliefs. When there are stands against genetic engineering from these people we must listen to them also and not cast them away as just religious fanatics or bible bashers.
Not only does gene shopping create a greater similarity among people, but it leaves the door open for total annihilation of the species. When there are a great load of people with similar make-ups, the threat of disease increases. If one person gets a disease, all those similar to him/her will be vulnerable to the disease as well. Immune systems are not able to combat the viruses and bacteria because there is no variety.
DNA strands are just too delicate and complex. The idea of that we can fully understand and map every part of the strand can not be realistic. There will always be holes, therefore making holes in our practices. In the words of Dr. Elena Gates, an expert in reproductive issues at the University of California at San Fransico, “I would not like to announce that Mrs. Jones just gave birth to twins – and she’s got two more in the freezer.” Many say that genetic engineering can benefit us all, but are they willing to reveal the possibility of almost complete destruction of the human race.
1. Internet source
Dr Sandra Beckit/Scientist
“Dealing with Genetics”
2. Internet source
Walther Beusero/Univerity of New Caledonia
“Dangers and Benefits of Genetic Engineering”
3. Brussels/Greenpeace European Unit Report