When The Ethics Of Genetic Engineering Push The Limit

Ethics of genetic engineering are among the most hotly debated subjects in scientific circles throughout the world, and also among the lay people who are going to have to live with the consequences of any choices which are made by those in authority. There are many on either side who argue vehemently for one extreme or the other, believing that genetic engineering is either inherently evil or that it is a godsend which can solve many of the problems which are prevalent in the modern world. Most people are somewhere in the middle of these extremes, interested by the possibilities but worried by the potential consequences.

There are even doubts cast over the wisdom of using genetic engineering at its most basic level, to alter the genetic pattern of food crops so that they can become more hard wearing against disease. This is a technology which is already in place throughout the world, and which is becoming more common with each passing year. There are ethical considerations not only with the techniques themselves, but also with the labeling which is needed to let people know what they are eating. In the United States and many other countries, there is no mandatory labeling of genetically modified food, and that would be difficult to achieve accurately in any case.

The issue of genetic engineering ethics becomes even more uncertain as you move up the food chain. There are many possibilities for using the technology in animals, to produce larger herds which give more meat for the same expense in feed and grazing area, to increase milk yields of cows or goats, or to produce more wool from sheep. There is no doubt all of these objectives can be achieved, but they will interfere with the inherent right of the animals, and the consequences to humans who ingest the products remains unknown.

types of genetic engineering

There are other potential uses of animals which raise the questioning of the ethics of genetic engineering to a completely different level. The first of these is to deliberately grow the animals with more human type genes so that they can be used for the testing or drugs, in the hope that the numbers of experiments which are needed on human volunteers can be drastically reduced. The ethics of deliberately injecting drugs into healthy animals is hotly enough debated, but when those animals are specifically grown with unnatural features specifically for the purpose there have to be serious questions asked.

The issue of genetic engineering ethics is stretched to the limit when it is human interests which are effected. The animals which are grown in more human form can also be grown so that their organs can be transplanted into humans, and this will raise the same doubts as the use of the animals for drug testing. Human genes themselves can be altered, as in the case of people suffering from immune system deficiencies who can be cured by a gene replacement. In this case, the ethics are less debatable as it is only the genes of the patient which are altered.

genetic engineering

The ethics of genetic engineering can be questioned most in the case of barren women who want to use the technology to enable them to have children. For this to happen, there needs to be eggs from a third party mother, and this leaves any resulting child with a permanently altered genetic pattern. Not only that, but this altered pattern with three genetic blueprints is then passed down through the generations for ever. The entire human race could be affected by this issue of the ethics of genetic engineering.

 

 

 

Genetic Engineering News:

 

Genetically enhanced, cord-blood derived immune cells strike B-cell . - Science Daily

Genetically enhanced, cord-blood derived immune cells strike B-cell .
Science Daily
Immune cells with a general knack for recognizing and killing many types of infected or abnormal cells also can be engineered to hunt down cells with specific .

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A Potent Tool to Treat Pancreatic Cancer May Already Be in Your Body - MIT Technology Review

MIT Technology Review

A Potent Tool to Treat Pancreatic Cancer May Already Be in Your Body
MIT Technology Review
Valerie LeBleu, assistant professor of cancer biology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is working on genetically engineering exosomes to carry molecules that seek out pancreatic tumor cells to keep the cancer at bay. Her team .

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The race to revive woolly mammoths using ancient DNA - CBS News

CBS News

The race to revive woolly mammoths using ancient DNA
CBS News
And why they don't get cancer is in their genes. If we can figure that out, we can use this genetic engineering to solve cancer," he said. The author also addressed the ethical concerns related to these types of genetic engineering practices. "The idea .
Peter Thiel Is Funding the Effort to Bring Woolly Mammoths Back to LifeMIT Technology Review

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New molecular scissors act like a GPS to improve genome editing . - Science Daily

New molecular scissors act like a GPS to improve genome editing .
Science Daily
Researchers have discovered how Cpf1, a new molecular scissors unzip and cleave DNA. This member of the CRISPR-Cas family displays a high accuracy, .

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Human Neural Stem Cell Therapy for Chronic Ischemic Stroke | GEN - Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Human Neural Stem Cell Therapy for Chronic Ischemic Stroke | GEN
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Chronic disability after stroke represents a major unmet neurologic need. ReNeuron's development of a human neural stem cell (hNSC) therapy for chronic .

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Israeli university harnesses viruses to fight antibiotic-resistant . - Haaretz

Haaretz

Israeli university harnesses viruses to fight antibiotic-resistant .
Haaretz
A new technique developed by researchers from Tel Aviv University could be a milestone in the battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, ultimately even .

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