Do The Pros Of Genetic Engineering Outweigh The Cons?

Pros of genetic engineering are considered by those in favor of it to outweigh the possible negatives and the moral considerations which concern it, although it is far too early for those to be properly quantified. Genetic engineering is at its most advanced stage when dealing with plants and crops, and many genetically modified foods are already being sold in different countries of the world despite concerns over labeling and safety. When genetic engineering is applied to animals and even humans, there are other greater benefits to be gained, but also with increased risk and danger.

The most obvious benefit of genetically modified food is that it will give increased crop yields for the same area of space, over the standard unmodified crop. This increases the possibility of the human race being fully fed, although this could obviously only happen if there were political changes throughout the world. The modified crop is resistant to pesticides and artificial fertilizers, making it possible to use more chemicals against possible destructive insects and other pests. They can also be more resistant against diseases which can easily spread from one crop to another.

When genetic engineering is applied to plant foods in this way, there is also the possibility of the crop being made more durable. This is the second generation of genetic engineering, and is not yet universally applied. Where it is applied, the crops become more resistant to climatic conditions which can wreak havoc in certain parts of the world. In regions where the temperature can very greatly from the average, there is always the possibility of extreme cold wiping out crops which are grown across a large area, and at best this will cause prices to rise. Drought is a threat in other parts of the world, and genetic engineering can create crops which need far less water.

types of genetic engineering

The pros of genetic engineering in the case of animals are far less easy to define, although there is obviously the potential to create a higher yielding farmyard stock. Cows can be engineered to produce more milk for the same size of herd and space taken, and all animals reared for their meat can be grown to larger sizes. It is not just food products which can be improved, as the sheep which are sheared for their wool can also be engineered to produce more. Animals can be used for other purposes, such as the testing of drugs and even the use of organs for transplants, but these are far more controversial.

There is also a possibility of human genetic engineering, which is the most controversial use of all. Part of this involves using genetics to cure illnesses which are caused by faulty genes in the first place, and this has already successfully been carried out on several occasions. Using genetic engineering to overcome infertility is possible, but this is highly controversial as it involves using eggs from a different mother, giving the child three genetic blueprints instead of two.

genetic engineering

The pros of genetic engineering are obviously encouraging many to implement it, even at this early stage when so little is understood of the potential risks. Even in the apparently relatively safe area of plant genetics, there is the risk that genetically modified plants will spread to other areas and that the entire ecology will be severely affected. The positive sides at the moment are outweighing these considerations and genetically modified food is becoming commonplace. It is only in the coming years when we see the results of this that we will know whether or not the downsides outweigh the pros of genetic engineering.

 

 

 

Genetic Engineering News:

 

Virus stampingEUR”a versatile new method for genetic engineering of single cells - Phys.Org

Phys.Org

Virus stampingEUR”a versatile new method for genetic engineering of single cells
Phys.Org
For decades now, scientists have used viruses as vehicles for introducing new genes into cells. Different types of viruses such as lentivirus, herpes simplex and adeno-associated viruses can be used to genetically engineer individual cells or cellular .

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Alcohol and cancer: This is how booze damages DNA inside cells - Cancer Research UK (blog)

Cancer Research UK (blog)

Alcohol and cancer: This is how booze damages DNA inside cells
Cancer Research UK (blog)
To do this, they used lab-based genetic engineering to create mice whose blood stem cells didn't produce the enzyme ALDH2, meaning they couldn't break down acetaldehyde. They then gave these mice diluted ethanol, the purest form of alcohol, and used .
Alcohol and endogenous aldehydes damage chromosomes and mutate stem cells | NatureNature
New research shows how alcohol damages DNA and increases cancer riskCancer Research UK
The Alcohol Flushing Response: An Unrecognized Risk Factor for Esophageal Cancer from Alcohol ConsumptionNCBI - NIH
American Cancer Society
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Scientists engineer sound-reflecting bacteria - Cosmos

Cosmos

Scientists engineer sound-reflecting bacteria
Cosmos
Scientists at the California Institute of Technology in the US have genetically engineered bacteria capable of sending sonar signals from deep within the human body. The modified Escherichia coli contain genes from two other species of bacteria .

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Vaccine Industry Retools Itself for Speed - Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Vaccine Industry Retools Itself for Speed
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Elaborating on core molecules to build vaccines of different types, allowing the use of simplified manufacturing platforms. Deploying diverse vectors, transfection systems, and host cells to develop highly productive expression platforms. Using vaccine .

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Pakistani database to help deal with genetic disorders - SciDev.Net

SciDev.Net

Pakistani database to help deal with genetic disorders
SciDev.Net
[ISLAMABAD] Pakistan, a country with a high rate of marriages among close relatives, has taken a step towards dealing with inherited disorders by establishing a genetic mutation database, or mutome, that the developers say will help provide genetic .

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Long-lasting flu vaccine could replace yearly shots - Science News for Students

Long-lasting flu vaccine could replace yearly shots
Science News for Students
(in genetics) A quality or characteristic that can be inherited. vaccine (v. vaccinate) A biological mixture that resembles a disease-causing agent. It is given to help the body create immunity to a particular disease. The injections used to administer .

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Gene editing EUR and what it really means to rewrite the code of life . - The Guardian

The Guardian

Gene editing EUR and what it really means to rewrite the code of life .
The Guardian
We now have a precise way to correct, replace or even delete faulty DNA. Ian Sample explains the science, the risks and what the future may hold.
Gene Editing Market to Record Sturdy Growth by 2025Digital Journal

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