Frankenstein Today

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Is the Technology of Today Ready to Create Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”? When the novel “Frankenstein”, by Mary Shelley came out in 1831 the general public was introduced to the idea of man creating another man, scientifically without the use of reproduction. The disasters that followed, in the novel, demonstrated the horrid fact that creating humans was not natural. That was in 1831, when the knowledge of science had not yet evolved enough to act on such an idea. Now as the start of a new millenium approaches, having the capability to scientifically produce one human who is genetically identical to another, or cloning a human, has a lot of people questioning weather or not it is our moral right to do such a thing. It is a classic debate between principles of science and principles of religion. The more we know about genetics and the building blocks of life the closer we get to being capable of cloning a human. The study of chromosomes and DNA strains has been going on for years. In 1990, the Unites States Government founded the Human Genome Project (HGP). This program was to research and study the estimated 80,000 human genes and determine the sequences of 3 billion DNA molecules. Knowing and being able to examine each sequence could change how humans respond to diseases, viruses, and toxins common to everyday life. With the technology of today the HGP expects to have a blueprint of all human DNA sequences by the spring of 2000. This accomplishment, even though not cloning, presents other new issues for individuals and society. For this reason the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) was brought in to identify and address these issues. They operate to secure the individuals rights to those who contribute DNA samples for studies. The ELSI, being the biggest bioethics program, has to decide on important factors when an individual’s personal DNA is calculated. Such factors would include; who would have access to the information, who controls and protects the information and when to use it? Along with these concerns, the ESLI tries to prepare for the estimated impacts that genetic advances could be responsible for in the near future. The availability of such information is becoming to broad and one needs to be concerned where society is going with it. The next step after scientists have identified and studied adult DNA would be to copy it.

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