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Ethical Controversies Involved in the Use of Germ-line and Somatic Gene Therapies

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Ethical Controversies Involved in the Use of Germ-line and Somatic Gene Therapies Abstract There are many sides to the issue of using germ-line and somatic germ therapies. Many people argue that it should be stopped completely, whereas others argue that both germ therapies should continue for the benefit of all people. There are other arguments that lie somewhere in between. Most of the controversy is caused by germ-line gene therapy because it can be passed on through generations. Somatic gene therapy has more support and funding but is still considered untrustworthy by many who believe it may also affect the germ-line in some cases. These moral arguments have called the stop to many cases and experiments, more so after a patient treated with gene therapy dies. In the ongoing fight for the elimination or continuation of gene therapy, there are four main positions (Sadler et al., 2005). One position is to bring an end to both germ-line and somatic gene therapy practices. This group argues that using gene therapy on humans is dangerous and that changing genes to attempt to make improvements is wrong. It is seen as creating the possibility to design children before birth and change mental and physical characteristics of the next generation, bringing an end to diversity (Sadler et al., 2005). In 2000, the American Association for the Advancement of Science banned “inheritable genetic modification” (Fischer, 2000). They believed that risks from the gene therapy procedures might not cause genetic problems for a few generations after the patient is treated. The AAAS suggested that trials and experiments with gene therapy be stopped. Another position in the gene therapy ethical argument is to proceed with all gene therapy... ... middle of paper ... ...rapy investigations proliferate. Nature Medicine [On-line serial]. Vol. 6. Retreived July 21, 2005 from the Internet: http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v6/n3/full/nm0300_235a.html Nowak, R. (1995, March). Patent award stirs controversy. Science [On-line serial]. Vol. 267. Retreived July 21, 2005 from the Internet: http://web5.infotrac.galegroup.com/itw/infomark/184/377/69240368w5/purl=rcl_EAIM_0 Sadler, T. & Zeidler, D. (2005). Negotiating Gene Therapy Controversies. The American Biology Teacher [On-line serial]. Vol. 66. Retreived July 21, 2005 from the Internet: http://www.bioone.org/bioone/?request=get-document&issn=0002-7685&volume-66&pa Shannon, T. (1999, March). Ethical issues in genetics. Theological Studies [On-line studies]. Vol. 60. Retrieved July 21, 2005 from the Internet: http://web5.infotrac.galegroup.com/itw/infomark/184/377/69240368w5/purl=rcl_EAIM_0
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