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What is Genetic Engineering?

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What is Genetic Engineering Biotechnology is the use of biological systems; living things - to make or change products. It has been used for centuries in traditional activities like baking bread and making cheese. Traditional biotechnology involved for example, developing a new wheat variety with early ripening characteristics by crossbreeding different types of wheat until the desired characteristics and only those characteristics were present in the new wheat variety. The terms 'gene technology', and 'genetic engineering' mean the same thing, and refer to one type of modern biotechnology. Since the 1950s scientists have learned that DNA in the cells of all living things is like a blueprint that is passed from one generation to another. DNA contains genes; messages coded with information that gives living things their particular characteristics like hair and eye colour. Scientists also discovered that all living things use the same genetic message code. This was the beginning of modern biotechnology. Genetic engineering includes a range of techniques used by scientists to control or modify genes, switch them off or move them between two unrelated species. Using genetic engineering, scientists aim to introduce, enhance or delete particular characteristics of a living thing, depending on whether they are considered desirable or undesirable. ...read more.


"Should it be used on humans?" This is a question that even those in support of gene technology have to ask themselves. This issue is so controversial because some people may feel that a second-class human being could be created. The whole area of eugenics seems to have a lot of opposition for the reason that we could change our DNA so we have particular characteristics. Opposition feel that the result of this is, we will, in the future have designer babies. Those against gene technology and more importantly eugenics may not think this idea is very ethical because when they look back in history they could see similarities between this and the master race which Hitler tried to create. Also religious groups may oppose transgenic organisms because of their beliefs. (E.g. Hindus believe cows are sacred and Jews see pigs as unclean.) Those against Gene Technology also imagine that Genetic disorders which are screened before birth will cause huge dilemmas on whether the foetus should be aborted or not. Also adults may be screened for genetic disorders and again opposition groups may believe this will lead to second class humans as insurance companies will discriminate against people who may potentially get these disorders, even though they are in perfect health. ...read more.


Then there is the biosphere invaded and distorted beyond recognition by genetically engineered trees, plants, animals, insects, bacteria, and viruses, both planned and run amok. Also Illnesses will be very different. Most of the old ones will be gone or mutated into new forms, yet most people will be suffering from genetically engineered pathogens. This future is a lot more plausible than you might think and will be brought about by a shortsighted quest for short-term profit by corporate businesses. I feel that unlike most other technologies, genetic engineering does not leave room for mistakes. Results of flaws in this technology cannot be recalled and fixed, but become the heritage to countless future generations. I understand that genetic engineering does have it benefits in the fact that genetically modified food can be made quite easily and there is no evidence of problems with it but I strongly feel that this technology is too hazardous and immoral to carry out on a world wide scale especially when it involves playing around with sperm and ovaries of animals. In the matter of control I believe that there should be a worldwide council including scientists, executives of large companies and also members of the public from around the world. The amount of each group should be proportional to total amount of each in the entire world. ...read more.

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