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Genetic Engineering is a modern science where the genes of an organism are changed to alter the features of that organism.

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Introduction

Genetic Engineering is a modern science where the genes of an organism are changed to alter the features of that organism. This normally happens by the extraction of genes from one organism, and these genes are then introduced into another organism to aid it in survival. Genes are removed from the DNA (deoxyribose nucleic acid) of an organism, and each gene codes for a particular trait in that organism (e.g. eye colour). Now that scientists have discovered what traits many of these genes code for, both in plants and in animals, they can modify these genes to benefit other organisms. For example, if a patient has a gene disorder, such as sickle cell anaemia, scientist can now obtain the correct gene and insert it into the patient to help them. There have been many questions about whether genetic engineering is ethical or safe but another questions is this; are there too many benefits to just ignore genetic engineering? (10, 7) (1, 2) Agriculture is probably one of the most beneficial forms of genetic engineering, and is also the most commonly used. ...read more.

Middle

(10, 7, 11) (1, 2, 3) As well as plants, animals are also being genetically treated to produce more meat, and less fat. Crops have also been treated to make then taste better and to stay ripe for longer. This will mean that they are easier to grow and also to store. This type of biotechnology will prove very beneficial in helping the food problems in third world countries. Most people don't realize how much of the food they consume is already enhanced through genetic engineering. A concern of genetic engineering in agriculture is connected with the 'knock-on' effects towards the environment. Critics believe genetic engineering will cause crop devastation, soil and water depletion, and mutations. (10, 11, 9) (1, 3, 4) The majority of the questions, concerning the moral and ethical aspects of genetic engineering, are along the lines of the ones below: * Should scientists be allowed to modify the genes of humans and animals? * Should scientists be allowed to alter the genes of a baby before it is born? * Should we be trying to play God with real organisms? ...read more.

Conclusion

If genetic tests are made strictly confidential, then such problems can be eliminated. Some scientists also fear that genetic testing before birth will cause parents to abort a child that will not meet their expectations. In the future, a genetic test before birth that reveals the child to have a disease will mean that the disease can be cured by inserting a healthy gene, before the child is born. There would then be no reason to abort the child. (3, 10) Overall the benefits far outweigh the risks of genetic engineering, and this means that people will either have to live their lives worrying about the risks, or stop to think of the infinite benefits. Whatever the people choose, it is likely that there will be a drastic increase worldwide, so my advice to people is to accept the benefits and forget about the minor consequences. Although some of the consequences are reasonably serious, for example, the worry that some crops may become immune to herbicides and become 'super-weeds'. In actual fact, through evolution, these modifications will take place anyway, even if the plants are left to themselves. Alastair Baillie Biology Coursework: The moral and ethical issues associated with recombinant DNA technology ...read more.

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