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“The Moral, Ethical, Social and Legal Issues Surrounding Genetic Engineering”.

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Introduction

"THE MORAL, ETHICAL, SOCIAL AND LEGAL ISSUES SURROUNDING GENETIC ENGINEERING" Genetic engineering is a moderately new and rapidly developing technology. It has opened up substantially limitless possibilities for influencing the genetic makeup of organisms. Genetic engineering is the transfer of a gene from one organism, the Donor into another, the Recipient (artificial manipulation) [Ref: 3]. It can lead to many incredibly useful developments in the fields of medicine, agriculture, industry and conservation. However, it also has the potential to produce almost disastrous problems. The techniques involved in genetic engineering are selective breeding of plants or animals. In selective breeding, only those plants or animals with advantageous characteristics are selected for further breeding. The other method is called hybridisation, which is the reproduction between different species. This is cross breeding, which may entail different strains of a species or members of different species in an attempt to combine the most desirable characteristics of both. Recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the other procedure involved in genetic engineering. In recombinant DNA, one or more genes of an organism are introduced to another organism. If the second organism incorporates the new DNA into its own, it has recombined DNA results. ...read more.

Middle

[Ref: 4] But then the whole issue of designer babies arises, where the parents can choose the characteristics they would like for their child. The disadvantages of allowing cloning to take place is that slowly but surely the human race would begin to lose its diversity. Also the fact that the entire human race, being genetically identical, would be at great risk from a single pathogen. Not only would cloning be a disaster in terms of viral disaster, but also another negative effect of it would be inbreeding. If everyone had the same genotype, and we lost the ability to clone, to keep reproducing within ourselves would lead us to our own extinction. Furthermore one of the common arguments against genetic engineering and in particular gene splicing. When Recombination DNA was introduced, there was a possibility and still is that genetically altered bacteria may escape from the laboratories and multiply causing erratic results. Public reaction concerning the use of recombinant DNA in genetic engineering has varied. The production of medicines using genetic engineering has generally been welcomed. ...read more.

Conclusion

This would widen the bridge between the rich and the poor. Also the cost of genetic treatment could mean the division of the society into those who could afford to improve their progeny and those who could well be referred to as inferior. This could lead to a lot of emotional damage. Some argue that all human genetic engineering is 'tampering with nature.' Others say genetic engineering is a breach of the belief of 'letting nature take its course.' Genetic engineering is used for various aspects of our life such as increasing plant/animal food production, diagnosing diseases, improving medical treatment, producing vaccines, useful drugs and to help dispose of industrial wastes. There are great advantages to genetic engineering when used prudently. Although there are possibilities that genetic engineering may be used for unnecessary objectives. For example, genetic engineering provides the ability to create an improved human being with desired characteristics, which could lead to the categorization of people. This could cause a lot of needless emotional crisis. This is just one example of circumstances that could occur when using genetic engineering inappropriately. In one sense nature should take its natural course however I do believe that genetic engineering could be used to improve quality of life in terms of health. ...read more.

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