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Genetic Engineering Essay, Research Paper

Is genetic engineering right or wrong? People have been tackling this debate for the past 10 to 15 years and have all come up with conclusions of their own. It is a controversial topic due to it?s moral and ethical issues but the use of genetic engineering on agriculture, animal and possibly humans is proving to be helpful in solving many of society?s common problems. Genetic engineering should be morally and ethically acceptable because of the benefits that it brings into our society.

The agriculture industry has and is still benefiting from the use of genetic engineering of plant also known as agricultural biotechnology which means genetically modified crops. The genetically engineered crops are proving to be resistant to herbicides, pest and some diseases as well. Worldwide about a third of all potential crop production is lost by pests. Scientists have also learned to produce plants that convert nitrogen directly from the soil. Insects are being genetically engineered to attack crop predators. This produces more crop yields, therefore meaning a decreases in prices for crop products. For the last 2 and a half years crop prices have been a record low which has helped many of the malnourished countries of the world like Indian, who?s malnutrition rate has gone down 12% percent in the last 4 years. Herbicide tolerant plants would be beneficial to the environment because the herbicides used on crops would be non-toxic and these would break down more easily, making it less likely for the herbicide to leach into ground water. Although agricultural biotechnology is pretty much used world wide now , scientists still believe that these genetically engineered crop can bring harm to the human digestive system and that this is only a short term method of solving pests and diseases. There is ongoing currently research on these allegations but no concrete proof as of yet has been shown to the public and until then scientist are still pursing further research in this area.

The genetic engineering of animals has certain key advantages that are potentially yet extremely beneficial for humankind. Genetically engineered animal are being developed as living factories for the production of pharmaceuticals and as sources of organs for transplantation into humans also known as xenotransplantation. This method has the potential to provide any individual with new organs at any time instead of waiting till an organ is available which in some case can be life threatening. Even though there are some who believe that transplanting an organ of an animal into a human is morally and ethically wrong, a recent survey conducted by FOX News discovered that only the 38% of us are opposed to it and the rest of the 58% are in favor and only a small 10% who are not sure. Scientists are still producing new drugs that will stop the human immune system from attacking the foreign organs so that this method can be used efficiently in the up coming future. Another use of genetically engineered animal is the development of new pharmaceuticals to many common diseases. Cystic fibrosis is one of the most common genetic disease in many countries around the world. 1 out of 2000 babies are affected at birth with this disease. In 1933, scientists from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust at the University of Cambridge discovered that mice that had been genetically engineered to show symptoms of cystic fibrosis could have their symptoms diminished through genetic engineering. These are only two examples of how animal are used to help discover new treatments in common medical problems.

The genetic engineering of humans raises entirely new moral and ethical issues, which still has not been done as of this point. Even so, there are several future potential advantages to this engineering to look at. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing is used today and is extremely helpful in solving criminal cases. In November of 1987, Ronald Cotton was convicted of two rapes and two counts of burglary. An Almanac County Superior Court sentenced Cotton to life plus 54 years. Before Cotton?s trial a man in prison stated to another inmate that he had committed Cotton?s crimes. But the court judge refused to allow this information into evidence. In 1994 two new layers took over Cotton?s defense and filed a motion for DNA testing that was granted in October 1994. The results were that the there was no way that Cotton could have raped the two women and the DNA data base matched up with the convict who had earlier confessed the crime. This only one of the criminal cases solved by DNA testing. Somatic gene therapy is another type of human genetic engineering. It is the process of inserting healthy cells with certain proteins into the body where these proteins are lacking or missing. The hope is to possibly eliminate potential diseases before it develops, providing humans with longer and healthier lives. Genetic screening is already in use to screen for some hereditary conditions. Research is still ongoing to make use of gene therapy in attempt to correct some of these conditions. Other research is focusing on techniques to make genetic changes directly in the human embryos. If these treatments can be developed to a stage where it is widely use than the possibilities are unlimited. Genetic diseases would be unheard of, people could “design” their offspring?s, there would be insects that could stop a diseases potency and humans would never have any organ malfunctions problems that could not be fixed. Now if this was possible would you take some of the negative consequences to achieve such results? The co-discoverer of the DNA code and Noble Laureate Dr. James D. Watson once said that “We must go ahead until we experience some serious disadvantages. We must take the risk of even a catastrophe that might be hidden in recombinant DNA technology. This how learning works, until a tiger devours you, you don?t know that the jungle is dangerous.”

In conclusion genetic engineering will be beneficial for many people. But in order to succeed in using these new types of treatment, it has to be accepted by the public, as mentioned before more than have of the people in America consent the research and risks of genetic engineering. Although the moral and ethical issues will always exist people are starting to understand why scientist are pursing such controversial territory. Their hope is to provide to a world with the least amount of problem as possible that they believe they can solve with continuing research.

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