Ethical Complications of Genetic Engineering and Eugenics

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Genetic engineering is currently the fastest growing and perhaps most controversial field of science. Genetic engineering is decoding and manipulating DNA to use for scientific and medical purposes. "The discovery that human cells can be grown in a petri dish has opened up breathtaking possibilities for curing disease - and a morass of ethical complications" (Allen 9).

Genetic engineering has already started to be most helpful in the field of medicine. The map of the human genome offers many cures and potentially successful medical procedures. By creating artificial chromosomes, scientists may be able to replace diseased inherited traits with functional ones. Determining the genetic make up of viruses such as the HIV virus that causes AIDS, may provide a way to combat it. Scientists can find ways to fight Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and leukemia, among others. By cultivating cells, scientists can grow human organs and tissue for people who are in need, such as diabetics requiring a pancreas to produce insulin.

With genetic engineering, scientists can breed animals and create vast fields of rice. With similar techniques, scientists can, and will eventually, clone a human being. This idea frightens most people. The problem is: where is the line between what is beneficial to humans and what could potentially be harmful?

Although genetic engineering is currently expanding rapidly, this area of study has been around for a very long time. Humans, by instinct, are always striving to better themselves and to greater develop both computer and bio- technology. Even though scientists do not know how to program DNA yet, society has already seen glimpses of the results of modifying evolution and natural human development. ...

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Works Cited

Allen, Arthur. "Brave New Frontier: Medical Research and the Debate Over What Is Life." The Washington Post Magazine 15 Oct. 2000: 8-13, 27-32.

Caplan, Arthur L. "What is immoral about eugenics?" November 1999.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998.

Proctor, Robert. "Nazi Medicine and Public Health Policy," Dimensions. Vol. 10, no. 2 (1996).

Public Lectures - Life in the Universe. Stephen Hawking.

Weiss, Rick. "Test-Tube Baby Born to Save Ill Sister." Washington Post 3 Oct. 2000, final ed.: A1+.

Will There Ever Be Another You? Spec. issue of Time Magazine (10 Mar. 2000): 60-76.

Wunder, Michael. The Grafeneck Declaration on Bioethics. June 1996.
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