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.

 

 

 

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The Drive for Perfect Children Gets a Little Scary - Bloomberg

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Industry Daily News (press release) (blog)

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

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