Although the impact of genetics is still unclear, if the more optimistic predictions of scientists are realized, then impact on the overall pattern of healthcare could improve. Whether this will be in the interests of patients’ health is debatable. It is certainly vital that anyone who is concerned with the future of medicine. The success rate for all applications of genetic engineering is vanishingly small. Human genetic engineering must be put in use for advances in reproductive technology and not to become available with bad intentions or misguided choices.
Within the field of human embryo research lies a controversial science that could redefine prenatal care: genetic engineering. Genetic engineering not only offers the possibility of eliminating birth defects and genetic illness, but also presents the moral ambiguity of eugenics. The acceptabilities of genetic engineering, assuming that it will be available in the foreseeable future, must be explored if society is to fully benefit from it. The most prominent and perhaps the most acceptable reason given for genetic engineering is its potential use in preventative medicine. A few cells from an embryo could be genetically analyzed to detect harmful mutation or predisposition towards disorder, at which point action could be taken either through somatic cell or germ-line gene modification.
Others argue that the positive effects of cloning will outweigh the negative. The issue over whether cloning humans is ethical is receiving more and more attention as scientists successfully experiment with cloning and gene therapy, coming closer to making human clones a reality. An ethical basis for the rejection or acceptance of cloning in science can be based around several different theories of morality. Interestingly, those supporting a Utilitarian approach, seeking the greatest good for the greatest number, can be found on both sides of the issue. Some advocates of cloning argue that allowing society to benefit from cloned organs, for example, will outweigh the detrimental consequences of that may result from the abuse of cloning technology by a few scientists.
"Spinal Cord Repair." World Wide Web. AOL. 19 May 1999. [www.sciam.com/explorations/081897spinal/zacks.html] Woodward, Kenneth L. "Today the Sheep..." Newsweek 10 Mar 1997: 60.
May 2000, Berkeley Hills Books; ISBN: 1893163121 Martha C. Nussbaum, Cass R. Sunstein. Clones and Clones : Facts and Fantasies About Human Cloning. September 1999, W.W. Norton & Company M. L. Rantala, Arthur J., Phd. Milgram. Cloning : For and Against December 1998 Open Court Publishing Company Chapman and Hall.
Critics may argue that there are moral and ethical problems associated with this novel technique, but for the most part scientists realize the importance this advancement will have. Gene therapy may be the key to curing dozens of diseases, and has endless possibilities, but more research is needed before its safe or accepted as common practice.
Somatic cell manipulation is simply injecting new genes into somatic cells in order to cure a disease such as hemophilia. Germline manipulation is altering the genes in sex cells that are passed onto offspring, so that the offspring will posses certain specific characteristics. From the descriptions of these few processes, it can be seen why genetic engineering has become such a controversial issue. Genetic engineering deals with the very intricate, orderly, processes of human life. Genetics is so complex that it is extremely risky to be getting too far into the engineering without knowing the exact results of the actions.
Online. http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/europe/08/18/vatican.cloning/index.html 12 April 2001. Whitehouse, David, Ph.D. "Cloning humans: Can it really be done?" BBC News. 9 March 2001: n. pag.
There are opposing viewpoints on the incorporation of gene therapy into modern medicine. Many scientists and individuals from the public find genetic therapy to be unethical. In contrast, others see it as a revolutionizing technology that will change medicine and produce treatments and preventions to genetically inherited diseases. Reece briefly mentions the challenging decisions that accompany technological advancements. The ethical concerns that arise with gene therapy include; is the usage of DNA technology adequate to determine if people have genes for inherited diseases, should the tests be voluntary, should genetic testing be obligatory (Reece, et al.