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It has been suggested that the benefits of genetic engineering far outweigh the concerns about its use. Discuss the arguments for and against this statement.

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Introduction

Nick Collinson It has been suggested that the benefits of genetic engineering far outweigh the concerns about its use. Discuss the arguments for and against this statement. The moral issues of genetic engineering have long since haunted its existence. Cries of "they're playing god" have come up against the fact that genetic engineering has the potential, for example, to solve the third world food crisis. Genetic engineering has been going on for thousands of years, in the form of selective breeding. Farmers have been crossing different strains of wheat, and due to this, modern wheat has 3 times as many chromosomes as the ancestral grass from which wheat was developed. So we haven't had any problems so far. But genetic engineering has been developing at a tremendous rate, and has provided many headlines, from GM foods to Dolly the sheep and, more recently, the argument over stem cells. If, in the future, genetic engineering leads to the eradication of diseases, and the bacteria or virus that cause the disease, it could be the end of that particular micro-organism. ...read more.

Middle

Tomatoes do not stay fresh for long, and so they tend to go off before they are sold. This produces a lot of waste, so genetic engineers found a way of slowing down the ripening process, resulting in better quality tomatoes, less waste, and more time for the producers to get their tomatoes to market. Another fear is that genetic engineering could lead to the creation of a genetically superior `super-race'. The idea of `designer babies' has brought this about; a time in the not so distant future, where parents can choose what they want their offspring to look like, and perhaps even think like. It's just the same as what Hitler tried to do in the first half of last century. Except now, there is a new angle: With this new technology, scientists would potentially, have the power to modify the future genetic landscape, in a much more subtle way than Hitler. If this technology was allowed to be developed and ever got into the wrong hands, who knows what could happen, especially in the unstable world we live in now? ...read more.

Conclusion

We should just let what happens happen. Sources Moral Dilemmas - Genetic engineering Read all about it! - Genetics The revolution in Genetics (Where will biotechnology lead?) Genetic screening has also been pencilled in, by cynics, as a main pitfall of the future. The question they are posing is, should it be allowed to be used, as a common thing we all have done? It would provide every individual with a prediction on how long they will live, and how susceptible they are to certain diseases, like cancer or heart disease. The idea is that once people know this information, they will be able to seek treatment proactively and take extra care with their lifestyles. But of course there is the chance that letting out information like that, people will abuse it. Health insurance (in the US, and probably soon in the UK) shares risk between people who never fall ill and people who do. If everyone knows their risk, then people with a low risk may not bother with insurance, and people with a high risk, may not be able to obtain insurance, if they have to declare the results of the screening. ...read more.

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