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Evaluate the pros and cons of genetic engineering, artificial selection and cloning.

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Introduction

Introduction: The purpose of this essay is to investigate the title and evaluate the pros and cons of genetic engineering, artificial selection and cloning. Terms. A gene is what determines the inheritance of a particular characteristic, or a group of characteristics, for a particular organism. Such characteristics determined include sex, hair colour and inherited diseases. Alleles are different variants on a particular gene, for example, a gene which determines eye colour will have different alleles which determine different colours. Chromosomes are what carry genes in pairs, and are found in the nucleus of most cells. The actual genetic material which gene are made of is deoxyribonucleic acid, which is more commonly known as DNA. Strands of DNA are made up of combinations of four different bases: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine, which are grouped into threes to code for an amino acid. Different combinations of these amino acids produce proteins. A single gene can be made up of hundreds or thousands of the bases on a strand of DNA. The order of the bases controls the order in which the amino acids are assembled so that they make a particular protein for use in the body cells.

Middle

When genetic engineering or cloning is mentioned, all sorts of issues arise which in some cases sound beneficial and in others quite worrying. Here such allegations and ideas are examined. Possible benefits and arguments for artificial selection, genetic engineering and cloning are as follows: Artificial selection is hugely beneficial in enhancing the usefulness of organisms to mankind. It is a technique which has been used for centuries and has changed little (apart from in scale). In has mainly influenced food production and other products such as wool or cotton production, and in fact many of the typical 'farmyard' animals are even plants are the result of extensive artificial selection. Increased food yield is one possible benefit which could be acquired from genetic engineering. In fact for years plants and animals have been subject to artificial selection to combine their most useful elements, such as obesity, to increase food yield; amongst other resources, such as wool. Genetic engineering could enhance this process, allowing it to be more effective and efficient, and therefore could be part of the solution to the world's ever increasing hunger. Another possible benefit of genetic engineering could be the possibility of enhancing ourselves in several ways.

Conclusion

This is because there could be two possible consequences of not doing so. First, as described earlier, we do not fully know or understand the whole process, and a gap in our knowledge could have minor, if not major consequences upon the environment which could possibly be irreversible. Second, public opinion is very much against genetic engineering even though many people do not understand it. If genetic engineering is to succeed, then the general public need to be given more information on it's benefits, not just it's potential disadvantages. Genetic engineering borderlines on many moral issues, particularly involving religion, which questions whether man has the right to manipulate the laws and course of nature. So there obviously needs to be a fine balance between what is considered 'right' and what is considered 'wrong'. If genetic engineering ever does Also, there would need to be a fine balance between what is 'right', i.e., what is morally and socially acceptable, and what is 'wrong'. Once again, making sure a new-born child does not have a life- threatening disorder must be a good thing, but making sure a child is intelligent or strong raises question marks. List of reference: Biology for AQA http://www.biology-online.org/2/13_genetic_engineering.htm http://www.encarta.com http://www.infoplease.com http://www.ecoglobe.org.nz/gebiotec/gebiotec.htm Giles Prowse 03/08/2003 Artificial selection and genetic engineering are two ways in which humans are able to manipulate the form or function of living organisms (including themselves).

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