In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, a new being was artificially created using the parts of others. That topic thus examines the ethics of "playing God" and, though written in 1818, it is still a relevant issue today. Genetic engineering and cryogenic freezing are two current technologies related to the theme in the novel of science transcending the limits of what humans can and should do.
Genetic engineering is widely used today. Genetically altered bacteria are used to make human insulin, human growth hormone, and a vaccine for hepatitis B. Two vaccines against AIDS created with genetic engineering have begun clinical trials here in the United States ("The Genetic Revolution" 10), and genetic engineering is used to detect genetic defects in human fetuses ("The Controversy over Genetic Engineering" 18).
Many are now considering using this technology to change humans, such as developing methods that could be used to regenerate or repair faulty organs. It could be also used to find a cure for diseases such as cancer, eventually (Fitzgerald), or to repair genetic defects. Parents could choose the sex and height of their offspring and be able to have more intelligent, more athletic, and better looking children. Also, genetic engineering could also be used to clone humans (Kevles 354), a topic of much discussion of late.
Kevin T. Fitzgerald divided potential scenarios for using cloning technology into three categories: "Producing a clone in order to save the life of an individual who requires a transplant; making available another reproductive option for people who wish to have genetically related children, but face physical or chr...
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...Victor may have succeeded in his goal of creating a new being and breaking death's hold over humankind, it appears that it will be us that puts forth the final and most acceptable solution.
Begley, Sharon. "Designer Babies." Newsweek November 9, 1998: 61,2.
"The Controversy over Genetic Engineering." Awake December 8, 1978: 18-20.
Fitzgerald, Kevin T. "Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?" America March 29, 1998.
. "The Genetic Revolution." Awake July 22, 1989: 10.
Kevles, Daniel J. and Leroy Hood. "Will the Human Genome Project Lead to Abuses In Genetic Engineering?" Taking Sides. Ed. Thomas A. Easton. Guilford, Connecticut: Dushkin Publishing Group Inc., 1995. 342-357.
Shelley, Mary. "Frankenstein." Puffin Books, Penguin Group. London, England, 1994. Pages 64-65.
http://alcor.org. "Alcor Life Extension Foundation." 1998.
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