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:

 

New types of therapy mean cancer is going to become ever more survivable - The Economist

The Economist

New types of therapy mean cancer is going to become ever more survivable
The Economist
New research tools, such as easily generated antibodies, rapid gene sequencing and ever easier genetic engineering, have revolutionised biologists' understanding of cancer. This understanding has allowed more specific approaches to the disease to be .

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Leather grown using biotechnology is about to hit the catwalk - The Economist

The Economist

Leather grown using biotechnology is about to hit the catwalk
The Economist
To produce its leather, Modern Meadow begins with a strain of yeast that has been genetically engineered to make a protein identical to bovine collagen. Collagen is the principal structural protein in animal bodies. In particular, it gives strength and .

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The drive for the perfect offspring can get scary - Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

The drive for the perfect offspring can get scary
Chicago Tribune
Sometimes you hear it argued that the complex nature of genes will prevent major feats of genetic engineering. That may be selling short future advances in Big Data and biomedicine, but even minor changes in genetic diagnosis and selection could have .

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CRISPR Therapeutics, MGH Partner to Develop T-Cell Cancer Therapies - Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

CRISPR Therapeutics, MGH Partner to Develop T-Cell Cancer Therapies
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
EURśWe have already seen the profound benefit that T-cell therapies can have for certain patients with a specific set of tumor types. Now the potential with gene editing, and specifically CRISPR/Cas9, exists to create improved versions of these cells that .

and more »
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New Device Claimed to Heal in One Touch - Industry Daily News (press release) (blog)

Industry Daily News (press release) (blog)

New Device Claimed to Heal in One Touch
Industry Daily News (press release) (blog)
U.S. scientists have recently managed to produce a type of mesenchymal stem cell, using genetic engineering. The new types of stem cells are currently able to identify as well as target the stiffer tumors in or on a human body. Mechanoresponsive cell .

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Genetically Engineered Corals Could Help Save the Coral Reefs - Interesting Engineering

Interesting Engineering

Genetically Engineered Corals Could Help Save the Coral Reefs
Interesting Engineering
The usual, well-established genetic engineering methods wouldn't work on this particular species. . The Symbiodinium, with the challenges presented by its genetic code, may be a candidate for one other type of genetic manipulation EUR CRISPR Cas9. This .

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Seeds in space EUR how well can they survive harsh, non-Earth conditions? - WTOP

Newsweek

Seeds in space EUR how well can they survive harsh, non-Earth conditions?
WTOP
A second ISS mission called EXPOSE-R included only the three types of Arabidopsis seeds. These received a little over double the dose of . The 11 Arabidopsis plants that did grow from both the wild type and genetically engineered seeds did not .
Frontiers | Phenotypic Changes Exhibited by E. coli Cultured in Space | MicrobiologyFrontiers

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