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The moral and ethical Issues of Recombinant DNA

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Introduction

The moral and ethical Issues of Recombinant DNA Recombinant DNA is a modern technology involving the combination of DNA from one organism with the DNA of another. This often involves inserting human DNA into the DNA of another organism. When these genetically engineered organisms are cultured, they produce a human protein. Recombinant DNA gives scientists far greater control over genetic manipulation For example, recombinant DNA techniques have now been used to create bacterial strains that produce human insulin in large amounts, and this insulin has been used clinically with no reported adverse effects. Other successes of this technique are human interferon (a protein important to the body's defence system) and human growth hormones. Recombinant DNA has been a leap which is contributing towards genetically engineered micro organisms, modified plants and animals, cloning, human gene therapy (correcting a genetic disorder) and mapping human chromosomes. Scientists can essentially extract, edit and replace the very building blocks of life on earth with our modern technology. The benefits of recombinant DNA are very prominent however there is a huge moral and ethical debate which has been occurring for decades concerning the morality of this advancement. ...read more.

Middle

Although these are merely the general public's thoughts, they can put people off the whole idea of GMOs. A great degree of rational concerns about recombinant DNA also exist. Firstly when scientists insert human genes into bacteria or viruses there is a high risk of these transgenic organisms mutating and actually forming new pathogens. The scare is that we would not be able to treat or handle these new pathogens, resulting in new illness. What we are essentially treating to make substances (e.g. insulin) or our less fortunate could end up being the cause of many more illnesses. There is a huge debate as to whether we are being safe in experimenting with these organisms. Another ethical concern is regarding our crops. The benefits are out genetically modified crops are notorious, however if the pollen or seeds from these crops were carried away from the testing plots, there is a high chance of genetically modified populations growing elsewhere. It is a known fact that genetic modification could invoke a resistance to herbicides, meaning these crops could grow out of control, (often described a 'superweeds') ...read more.

Conclusion

When a foetus is scanned for genetic disorders (e.g. Down's syndrome), parents often face a dilemma about aborting an affected foetus. This is can to lots of emotional stress and demoralising decisions. Also, it will soon become possible to screen adults for genes that predispose them to genetic disorders. This might lead to insurance companies discriminating against people with these disorders, when thought they have perfect health. The advent of recombinant DNA has brought medicine, agriculture and our understanding of our genes to a new level. As you can see there are many debates as to whether we should continue with our experiments. In my opinion the benefits of this new technology outweigh the moral and ethical concerns. This technology is too promising and too effective to cease working on, because in the end it will do far more good than bad. As the technology progresses, it will become far safer to utilise recombinant DNA and all its advantages. If God has given us the ability to experiment with genes, why not use this ability? As long as we can keep it safe; minimising the risks of upsetting nature and proving to the people that it is a good thing by trying to calm any emotional concerns, this technology should prevail. ...read more.

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