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Explain What Is Meant By The Human Genome Project And Outline Some Of The Legal, Social, Spiritual, Ethical And Moral Issues It Raises.

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Introduction

Explain What Is Meant By The Human Genome Project And Outline Some Of The Legal, Social, Spiritual, Ethical And Moral Issues It Raises. A gene is a length of DNA that codes for a protein, and the word genome means all the genes that are present in an organism. The Human Genome Project was set up in 1990 in order to establish the entire gene sequence of a Human. It was an international project headed by James Watson, Watson had earlier helped determine the structure of DNA. The original predicted finishing date was by 2010, but by spreading the work load throughout different countries, several advancements in the techniques of decoding DNA and private funding from drug companies the project has already been finished. The hope that with a better understanding of our genome, it would be easier to treat genetic disorders, was one of the major driving forces behind the project. But not necessarily for the patients but more for the drug companies who saw great opportunities with the code. This is because in return for sponsorship they were allowed to patent part of the genome, they saw this as a source of great income. Because with the knowledge and rights to the DNA code they could replicate some naturally occurring drugs, e.g. ...read more.

Middle

This is because in most religions life is considered a gift from God, and by changing the genome of a germ cell you are playing God yourself, which is considered wrong because this is supposed to leave God to do his work without interference. This is going to be one of the major stumbling blocks for those who want this kind of 'treatment' to be available. Religion also faces a major problem because if the DNA is decoded, then where is the 'spirit' supposed to be. The human 'spirit' is a major factor of most religions so without it then what would happen to religion? Because only a small percentage of DNA is used for actually coding for the proteins, there have been suggestions that the 'spirit' could be made up of the DNA that does not code for a protein, this is the only theory that can currently "allow there" to be a 'spirit'. One major social issue that needs to be addressed is what if a gene for homosexuality or paedophilia is found, then will we be prejudice and discriminate against people who are found to have these genes even if they show no signs of it on the outside? ...read more.

Conclusion

This is because it could limit the accessibility of some drugs to some people. There is also a wider picture to look at, because it is not inconceivable to suggest that the 'human gene pool' will get smaller and smaller, this could happen if everyone decided they wanted clever, good looking children... and the same genes were used again and again for different people. This could have disastrous affect in terms of the long-term future of humans. This would have to be classed as a humanitarian issue On the whole as we discover more about our genes, doors will be opened for new treatments, it will become easier to treat genetic diseases. While a lot of good is bound to come from The Human Genome Project and such projects, lots of issues need to be raised. We cannot ignore that we are slowly uncovering the mystery of life and with this new found knowledge there will be ways to abuse it, and we need to be careful of this. While we say all of this we are still a way off from knowing what everything in our genome does. There are many other issues other than those raised, which also need to be addressed, but hopefully they will be and this knowledge can be put to good use in helping people. ...read more.

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