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Genetics Engineering

Hollywood has been showing it to us for years. Frankenstein, The Six

Million Dollar Man, Jurassic Park, etc.; the list goes on. All these movies show

man’s instinct to create. This fiction of playing God in recent years is

becoming a reality.

In 1952, deoxyribonucleic acid was discovered(Dewitt, 1994). The spiral

staircase molecule, DNA. DNA is the building block of life. This block holds

the code for every aspect of any life on the planet Earth. DNA decides whether

one life will be a plant or rhinoceros. DNA also carries the information that

tells how smart, creative, bossy, shy, athletic, or any other description you

can think of. The secret code of DNA would prove to be invaluable. This is

the reason the Human Genome Project has been started. Scientist around the world

are using super computers to crack the code. This 15 year project is predicted

to end by the year 2005(Dewitt, 1994). That is only 10 years from now. What does

that mean to the average Joe?

Well, today we already live with genetically engineered items. The FDA

has approved bioengineered tomatoes that ripen without rotting(Dewitt, 1994).

Entire herds of cattle are now being injected with a growth hormone(BST) so that

they will produce more milk than ordinary cattle(Dewitt, 1994). Also drought

resistance grass that needs no moving.

Scientists will soon be able to collect DNA from endangered species.

This DNA could be used to clone more condors, bald eagle, mountain gorillas, and

many other animals. Totally extinct animals may be recreated as well, i.e.

Jurassic Park. Imagine having your own dodo bird or pet triceratops.

Many types of diseases will be cured. Just take out the gene that giving

you the problem. Pure panacea. As soon as a baby is born his or hers parents

will know everything about him or her. If they will be artistic. Will she get

breast cancer? Will he be tall or short? Is he a genius. Ten years from 2005,

these questions won’t even have to be asked. Made to order babies.

Made to order babies?!? Is this where we are headed? It’s only a matter

of time before a president’s hair clippings are swept up at a barbershop and

then used to detect what diseases he has or is susceptible to. The rich may one

day be able to obtain immortality by cloning themselves. I couldn’t picture

three Donald Trumps all thinking the same.

There is even a darker side to this. Governments may decide to create

super soldiers. Killing machines with top physical and mental prowess. This was

the dream of Adolf Hitler himself. These genetic alterations may also only be

accessible to the rich. Darwin’s rule of evolution, survival of the fittest; if

this holds true, anyone with more than 25% melanin in their skin(Afrikans

mainly)will be left out. The perfect man and woman will be a reality with

genetic engineering. What is the perfect man or woman? That is a question no one

knows, but probably someone will soon define. Mankind may get so intelligent

that we forget all of our animal instincts.

As with all things, there can be a good side and a bad side. Genetic

engineering will have a major effect on our future society. There will be many

social changes. It is hard enough today to know whether someone has breast

implants or if there hair is real. We might have to guess if a person was born

or manufactured at Genes R’ Us(Dewitt, 1994). A greater sense of deception and

mistrust will invade the psyche of the masses. Our behavior itself may itself be

a manufactured product of some person in a white lab coat. Many believe that

the Internet and online services will lead to the elimination of personal

privacy. Genetic and bioengineering just maybe the end to human nature.

Article Citations

Elmer-Dewitt, Philip (1994, January). The Genetic Revolution. TIME

Magazine, Vol. 143 No. 2

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