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Discuss the moral and ethical issues associated with recombinant DNA technology

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Introduction

Discuss the moral and ethical issues associated Emily Huntley with recombinant DNA technology When reading newspaper articles, surfing the Internet and watching the news, there is no escaping the issues we face with new technology and scientific advances. One of the most debated of these issues is genetic engineering and recombinant DNA, and their uses. Many people have different opinions and views on this topic for various reasons, perhaps influenced by their friends or family's opinions, their occupation, religion, environment, or perhaps the debates they witness in the media. But regardless of this there are clearly many moral and ethical issues that need to be clearly defined and discussed before people can make a fair judgement. This is hopefully what I will achieve when writing this essay. Firstly I must clearly define what recombinant DNA technology is. It's the methods and results related with the alteration of the genetic or hereditary material carried by genes of an organism. This can be simplified as below: 1) Identification of the gene required 2) Isolation of that gene (this occurs using a protein referred to as a 'restriction enzyme') 3) Copying of the gene 4) Insertion of the gene into a vector (Another enzyme called 'DNA ligase' is used in this process to hold the gene in place) 5) Insertion of the vector into a host cell (Process is known as 'transformation') ...read more.

Middle

But to do this he claims he needs to perfect this therapy he needs to practise on foetuses. He would be able to use genetic engineering to workout the genetic code of the baby and identify where the fault is he would then remove the faulty sector and replace it with a fully functioning healthy sector. Unsurprisingly this has unearthed many moral and ethical issues. Reverend said that 'We are facing, increasingly, an erosion of the respect for life' Many others are opposed to the idea that a foetus is undergoing an operation that will not benefit itself and it is unable to give consent. These moral and ethical issues undoubtedly link with religion and it is religions such as the Roman Catholics who are totally opposed to abortion that they are unsurprisingly completely against this process. Other major ethical issues include the impacts this therapy might have on the mother, particularly when it is occurring in her uterus. Emotional suffering is also a huge issue, many people would dismiss this, but it is not surprising if a mother feels guilty having undergone this therapy she might then be aborting a perfectly healthy baby. Genetic engineering is also used in the treatment of IVF. IVF is a treatment used by couples who are struggling to get pregnant. The basis of IVF is that a batch of the female's eggs are removed and fertilised outside of the body. ...read more.

Conclusion

I am of mixed opinion, I feel quite strongly about the fact that if this new technology will save lives then it is worthwhile. I also don't think it is right to have the knowledge and decide to abolish genetic engineering completely as many people who are suffering in the world have the knowledge that somewhere somebody knows how to cure them. Although I also feel that this amount of technology is unnatural and in some respects is going against the word of god, it is this idea that totally abolishes the concept of natural selection, but god gave us the ability to experiment with genes, so it seems only natural to use this ability. I particularly believe that the line must drawn at genetic engineering when it is specifically for aesthetic reasons, e.g. choosing the colour of your babies hair or eyes. It is now even possible to choose the sex of your child. This could inevitably lead to the categorisation of people. Although this technology does appear too promising and too effective to cease working completely, as I can see that the huge impacts and benefits it will have on people's lives are enormous. I also believe that the longer this technology continues the safer it will become, as we will realise the effects and deal with them. As long as we are fully educated on the advantages and disadvantages, then I think it is only fair to leave everyone to form their own conclusion without feeling pressured from any outside influences. ...read more.

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