Drawing the Line for Genetic Therapy

Drawing the Line for Genetic Therapy

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Drawing the Line for Genetic Therapy


Despite plans for this project to finish in the year 2005, it was
actually published ahead of schedule in the summer of 2001.

What is the Human Genome Project and should we be worried?

The Human Genome Project is a project where many scientists from all
over the world worked together with one simple aim: to map out the
sequence of DNA that makes up all the human genes.

From working out what the sequence is, doors of many possibilities are
open but what are these possibilities? Will they be as scary as
opening Pandora’s box or will they bring new hope to those who are
terminally ill?

Knowing the bases in the sequence is already enabling scientists to
set up more advanced genetic tests to give people early warning of any
signs of disease risk. Knowing whether you are at risk will therefore
allow you to make the necessary changes to your lifestyle to help
prevent the disease.

The most worrying aspect is possible the fact that with the knowledge
of the human genome, will people want to alter their characteristics?

This may be possible as we live in a world where more and more
teenagers are becoming anorexic as the media is bombarding them with
images of ‘skinny’ celebrities. This sends out a negative image and
society’s expectations are altering people’s shapes.

Fair enough, being overweight is not the image wanted because of the
health risks, but health risks are also associated with being
underweight.

How much would anorexic people pay to have themselves altered from
using their genes and what are the consequences?

The idea of eugenics is still very new with no expert surgeons who can
modify a gene. A simple mistake can severely alter someone’s live, and
at the most, kill them.

Would we be playing God by changing ourselves? After all, it is God
who made us in his image, and he made us out of his love.

Would we be throwing the gift back into our parents’ face?

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It is from
them that we are born into the world. Would we be sending out a
message that we are not grateful for having them?

What about prejudice? There is a lot of it going around. Using
eugenics to alter ourselves will possibly only generate more racism.
Shouldn’t we try to alleviate some of this before practising eugenics?
Or maybe we should concentrate on Third World Countries who
desperately need our money to help them?

What if you were completely made from eugenics? Would you be against
your parents for making you ‘scientifically’ or would you be grateful?

Personally, I would feel lost. Where is the meaning of your presence
if you are made not by your parents but scientists? The fact that you
are made from the image that your parents want you to have when you’re
older? I believe that this will only lead to a lot of turmoil,
heartache and confusion.

As seen from the TV series, Dark Angel, scientists genetically
engineered ‘transgenics’ and humanity were against them. They feared
something that wasn’t ‘normal’ to their society and called them
‘freaks’. Is this what we want to happen?

Many only wish for genetic therapy to be used for those who are ill,
to alter the genes so that they no longer have to cope with this
suffering.

The genome sequence is likely to becoming important when it comes to
prescribing drugs within the next fifteen years. Doctors would know
what drugs their patients are allergic to and can prescribe another
drug for them. It may also become possible to develop drugs that are
better suited to people with a particular genetic background.

Germline engineering is one of the long-term applications of the human
genome. The idea is to identify the abnormal gene and to correct it in
the sex cells so that the genetic information is passed onto the
offspring. As a result, future generations wouldn’t be affected by
their ancestors’ gene defect.

Isn’t this a much better way of using the knowledge of human genome?
To cure people rather than, by our own selfish needs, alter ourselves
to meet other people’s standards. The only way to be happy with
yourself is to love yourself. Never mind what other people say, it is
you that you should think about when regarding to your features.

If eugenics does become possible, I think the only way to stop people
from using it is from the humanity that is deep within us.
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