Eric Berquist Essay

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Mrs. Gelman3rd Quarter Seminar25 March 2004What are the limits of Genetic Engineering?What is genetic engineering? Genetic engineering is the alteration ofan organism’s DNA, or genetic, material to eliminate undesirablecharacteristics or to produce desirable new ones. The most controversialform of genetic engineering, by far, is cloning. Cloning is anothertechnology that has evolved out of genetic research.
While geneticengineering usually adds or removes just one or two genes, cloning involvesreproducing all of an organism’s genes (Tagliaferro 21). A clone is anexact genetic replica of an organism, having the same exact DNA makeup. Understanding what genetic engineering and cloning are is importantknowledge, but the most important questions are what the ethical, moral,legal, and biological issues are that deal with genetic engineering andcloning. I will discuss my person opinions about all of the issues ofgenetic engineering. You cannot forget that this is person opinion and notfact, as the majority of cloning is illegal, and most of these fields ofexploration are, well, unexplored.
I do believe that genetic engineering should be allowed, to a certainextent. I also believe that cloning should be legal, to a certain extent. However, you cannot please everyone and though some of these things may belegal, to others they might not be moral. Currently, the trend is to genetically engineer plants for resistanceto disease and increased food production; animals for new, advanced, andrevolutionary medicines.
This should be allowed; however there is alwaysthe possibility that the balance of nature could be changed by geneticallyenhanced plants. Insects will not be a problem for crops anymore; plantswith altered genes have already been tested indestructible where normalcrops have been eaten away. Harvesting medicine from animals, such ashemoglobin from pigs, will eventually become unnecessary since we will beable to alter our own genes. Human genetic engineering could very well bethe cure for the most widespread and devastating diseases in the world:cancer, HIV, AIDS, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’sdisease, you get the idea. If you already have the disease, you can alterthe genes necessary to stop the disease. The best thing possible would be,if there were a family history of a certain disease, to alter the genebefore the onset of the disease.
This form of genetic engineering shoulddefinitely be allowed. Human genetic engineering could also enhance orimprove “good” traits – for instance an extra copy of the human-growth-hormone gene could be added to increase height (Wekesser 155). I don’tthink that a growth hormone should be allowed, unless someone is anaturally born a dwarf, since there have been reports of nasty side effectsfrom those who have unnecessarily take the hormone. The long-term effectsof gene splicing are still unknown.
It is a dangerous process, and horrificaccidents could occur. For those who would like to pick and choose theirchildren’s genetic makeup (facial features, build, etc. ), there could bemutations (cue images of radioactive ants) of any kind. I do not believethat “made-to-order humans” should be allowed, for then there would be lessand less cultural diversity, and people would become more susceptible tocertain strains of disease, which, to an extreme extent, could be likegiving out nuclear weapons.
The good points of heredity would be erased,since we would turn into superhuman genetically enhanced cyborgs. No matterwhat anyone says, altering human evolution is not a good idea (unless toeliminate certain hereditary diseases). Strength enhancement for sports andthe like should not be allowed, since they share the same dangers assteroids. I do not believe that we should genetically enhance ourintelligence, either, but research and exploration of the unused part ofour brain (around 90%) would be allowed, also with anything else to forwardthe knowledge of our surroundings and ourselves. I have created 10 rulesand regulations regarding the laws surrounding genetic engineering.
Thisessay is my formal opinion on all issues, moral and lawful, surroundinggenetic engineering. 10 Rules and Regulations Regarding Genetic Engineering . Cloning may be used only if it is absolutely necessary. . The family may make the decisions for the patients.
. The doctor or geneticist must have a special license for cloning. . The cloning of complete human beings is illegal. . The unnecessary cloning of animals, especially pets, is illegal.
. The cloning of plants and animals for medical research and approvedmedicines is legal. . If the life of a person depends on genetic engineering or cloning,anything necessary is legal. .
If money is an issue for genetic engineering, it shall be paid by thepatient in increments or paid by the government in full. . The cloning of livestock is illegal, to prevent certain strains ofdiseases from decimating animals. . You cannot clone more than one organ from the same person.
Works CitedTagliaferro, Linda. Genetic Engineering: Progress or Peril?. New York:Lerner Publications Company, 1997. Wekesser, Carol, ed. Genetic Engineering. San Diego: Greenhaven Press,Inc.
, 1996. Judson, Karen. Genetic Engineering: Debating the Benefits and Concerns.Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2001

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