The Benefits of Genetic Engineering
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- Length: 1176 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)
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Firstly, an increasing importance is being placed on the role of genetic engineering in the use of riding the incidence of genetic disorders. ‘There are over 6,000 known disorders which are due to a change (mutation) in a single gene.’ (Healey, 1994: p. 11) These disorders cause havoc in growth, development and general health. (Healey, 1994: p. 11)
Despite the acceptance of disabilities in the 21st century, the manner in which society portrays disabled persons as something ‘out of the norm’ is still prevalent. One person who was interviewed stated: “ My condition changes my insurance and superannuation status, and that of my children…”(Healey, 1994: p. 14) Hopefully the eradication of genetic disorders will become more than merely a dream. With the utilization of manipulating human cells, genetic disorders such as ‘Down Syndrome’ and ‘Multiple Sclerosis’ can be identified to the specific abnormality (Hawley, 1998). Granting the employment of Genetic Engineering will enable scientists to produce embryo’s that would typically bare these disorders to become infrequent, thus reducing the amount of “birth defects in the community”, allowing at risk patients to avoid these, at time discriminatory and painful afflictions (Hepburn, 1992: p. 83). The prospect of genetic engineering does not simply benefit human genetic disorders, but creates a positive outlook towards many different conditions. (Healey, 1994: p. 14)
Surprisingly, a variety of diseases are determined by genetic factors. Human’s have a predicted 100,000 genes, approximately five to seven of which do not function as they are accustomed to (Human Genetic Disorders, 2001). These inadequate genes manifest diseases, which are debilitating and terminal.
In the case of cancer, the extent of people being affected by this disease is increasing dramatically, rising 65% from 1983 to 1991 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2001). The administering of genetic engineering will see the rate of prevention of cancer increase. In addition cancer is the product of mutated human cells, (genes of which are part of these cells) the genetic makeup of any particular person can generate cancerous cells (Paralumun New Age Women’s Village, 2001 ).
Although cancer is not the direct result of inheritable gene’s, the risk factor of being affected by this life threatening disease, is much higher than families that don’t have a history. Gene technology will enable scientists to aspire to the manipulation of cells in embryo’s, so as the malfunctioning gene’s found in the human geno causing Cancer will not be in existence. The impact on which genetic engineering has had on the world today is perhaps the most important one.
Above all else, the impact in which the role of genetic engineering has played, in this the second year of the new millennium is the most important. Genetic engineering saves lives. “This technology gave Adam life and gave Molly a second life” (Mrs Nash, Sixty Minutes, 2001). In this particular case, the young girl – Molly suffers from an extremely rare and genetically transmitted disorder. This specific disorder, Tacoma Anaemia, leads to “bone marrow failure, Leukaemia” and a short life span (Mrs Nash, Sixty Minutes, 2001). Genetic engineering enabled Molly’s baby brother, Adam, to be born with the exact match for a bone marrow transplant and without this rare genetic disorder, of which both his parents are carriers of. Consequently, Molly was treated with Adams umbilical cord blood (which performs a better job in this particular condition), “ soon after the transplant Molly’s immune system began to respond to the treatment” (Sixty Minutes, 2001). This story evokes the, “ bringing to the forefront” of this “ technology to avoid having sick children. Why wouldn’t you do what ever you can to save you child?” (Mrs Nash, Sixty Minutes, 2001)
However, it can be argued that, “God was the creator of human existence” and it should not be “messed” with (Robinson B.A, 2000). Statements such as these are preposterous! In the earlier years disease such as Small Pox, Measles and Tetanus, plagued the world (World Book, 1985, p. 144). Years after the first reported cases of these diseases, vaccines were prepared to erase and act as a form of prevention (World Book, 1985, p 144). In the slight chance that human intervention had not occurred, perhaps the whole human race would have been obliterated years ago.
In addition, “playing God”, can be derived into performing miracles. Ironically Saints (people who serve God) performed ‘so-called miracles’; in fact it is one of the criteria for being beatified. The hypocritical position of the church annuls any of the reasoning published in discrimination of Genetic Engineering. “The stereotypical ethicist of today (there are exceptions) has a basically reactive attitude to technological development…. All he can do is to condemn, worry, and call for bans.” (Bostom N, 2001)
The ignorance makes it impossible for the genetic engineering to be brought in to the mainstream of modern medicine. The arguments against genetic engineering are merely beliefs and morals, rather than concentrating on biological factors. If a greater consensus of people were presented with the facts surrounding genetic engineering they would realise that this is our future. This method provides hope to people who carry genetic disorders, diseases and contributes to the healthier and happier existence of the human race. It is the prerogative of scientists to examine every facit of human existence to gain knowledge and inturn heighten the standards of health in the world today.
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Healey K, 1994, “Genetic Engineering: Issues For the Nineties”, The Spinney Press, Botany.
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“Paralumun New Age Women’s Village”, 2000, [online]. Available From: http://www.paralumun.com/breastbiopsy.htm [29 February 2001]
Robinson B.A, 2000, “Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance” [online]. Available From: <a href="http://www.religioustolerance.org/sci_re.html">http://www.religioustolerance.org/sci_re.html [1 March 2001]
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