The Effects Of Genetic Engineering On Our Lives Essay

The Effects Of Genetic Engineering On Our Lives Essay

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From the science fiction of "Jurassic Park" to the reality of genetically modified foods, the idea of customizing plants, animals and even human genomes has held our fascination for decades. This obsession is not surprising considering the remarkable impact of genetic engineering on our lives, and the promise it holds for our future. Enhanced “golden rice,” which provides your daily dose of Vitamin A, modified poplar plants that help reduce pollution, and engineered human insulin for diabetics are a few ways genetic engineering has improved the quality of human life.

But, as you would imagine, modifying the genes of an organism is not easy. It’s not as simple as removing the parts you do not like with an eraser. It involves making changes at a molecular level that are both complex and challenging.

Historically, this has been the problem with genetic engineering: it is tedious, time consuming and not very efficient. “Genome editing” represents a newer branch of genetic engineering that attempts to correct these problems. It’s much simpler and far more efficient than the traditional methods of genetic engineering.

Genome editing utilizes “nucleases,” which are proteins that function like molecular scissors and have the ability to cut DNA at specific locations. Each nuclease enzyme has a unique sequence of DNA that it recognizes and cuts. This allows scientists to tailor the genetic material by adding, removing or substituting parts of the genome. Using this technology, one could remove unhealthy, bad parts of the genome and add in better, healthy versions of the DNA, revolutionizing the way we treat diseases in humans.

Scientists have endeavored to develop safe and reliable approaches to genome editing to aid scientific research...


... middle of paper ...


...ce or pleasure.

One particular concern among scientists is modifications made in human germline cells – i.e. the sperm or the egg. These are genetic changes that would actually be passed on through generations and scientists fear there could be unexpected side effects to this. Additionally, there are the ethical concerns of people misusing this technology to intentionally modify the genome to make “designer babies” with enhanced characteristics. These are some real concerns that are causing scientists to pause and weigh the pros and cons of use of this technology.

In spite of these disputes, no one can deny that CRISPR-Cas holds more promise than any previous technology for successful genome editing. Though we may not yet have a race of superhuman babies or dinosaurs raised from the dead, it seems that genome editing is slowly turning science fiction into a reality.

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