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The Ethics of Genetic Engineering

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Introduction

Genetic Engineering - A good thing or not? Genetic engineering is the artificial modification of the genetic code within a living organism. Genetic engineering allows for physical changes in the subject beyond what would be considered 'naturally' occurring. Genetic engineering occurs usually when genes are taken from one organism and inserted into another. Some of the resulting effects become known, but most stay hidden, manifesting as long term mental effects usually. The known effects are usually short term - physical and noticeable. Ones first insight into genetic engineering may be that it is a solution to all of society's ills and the world's problems. People could fashion themselves a perfect child - a perfect world could exist, theoretically. The truth is far from that concept as we are still today not sure of the many side effects genetic engineering may cause. Genetic engineering has been an incredibly controversial issue since 1997, when Dr Ian Wilmut first revealed his cloned sheep - Dolly. Dolly shared the exact genetic makeup of her mother, and looked exactly as her. However, this success was in some ways regarded as a failure; dolly was the only success of 245 attempts. ...read more.

Middle

The opposition claims that pushing these crops into the developing world will enrich companies at farmers' expense and won't really address the poverty and inequality that are the real roots of world hunger. Supporters however, say that, GM crops offer the world's best chance to end hunger and malnutrition around the world. One example is "golden rice," genetically engineered to provide extra vitamin A and therefore prevent a form of blindness, caused by a deficiency of vitamin A, - a widespread problem in developing countries.2 Although we are not still not aware of most of the possible devastations that genetic engineering could cause, farmers and scientists have noticed that cows which have genetically modified hormones to produce more milk, live shorter lives and suffer high rates of lameness and reproductive health problems. Cloned and genetically engineered animals have staggering failure rates, at 99% mortality.3 One of the biggest advantages of genetically engineered bacteria is that they can make exactly the protein needed, in exactly the amounts needed and in a very pure form. An example could be people with diabetes. ...read more.

Conclusion

By genetically modifying farm animals in Britain, we gain a better understanding of disease processes and mechanisms of resistance in livestock such as chickens and for example we can genetically modify animals' milk to produce anti-trypsin which can be used to treat hereditary emphysema and cystic fibrosis.5 There is a spectrum of opinion regarding human interests over animal interests. One side is that human interests do not outweigh animal interests and one is that they do. The latter view is that it is wrong to conduct experiments on humans, when we have a wide variety of animals to test on. The former view is that animals could have consciences and subjecting them to experiments may be morally demeaning. Genetic engineering could potentially one day, be the solution to every feasible problem we have in today's society. Some people will probably see this genetically modified "future" as an impossible thought, if humans continue to stay true to the ethics of GE standard we have today. As of now, we still cannot tell whether GE will be welcomed in the future, considering the many objections we still have today. http://www.echeat.com/essay.php?t=27203 - 1 http://www.enotes.com/ethics-genetic-article - 2 http://www.safeage.org/animalw.htm - 3 http://www.safeage.org/enviroimpact.htm - 4 http://www.boyd-group.demon.co.uk/genmod.htm - 5 ?? ?? ?? ?? Mehdi Missous 10RN ...read more.

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