Designer Babies

Topics: DNA, Gene, Genetic engineering Pages: 5 (1745 words) Published: November 10, 2013
Designer Babies
Looking to buy a new cat but want something different? Look into buying a glow in the dark cat, and yes you read that correctly. Glow in the dark cats are 100% real normal cats, except when the lights turn off they glow. It may sound like science fiction but they most certainly exist. Glow in the dark cats are a result of genetic altering in animals. Scientists say that modifying the genes of animals will enable them to make human genetic diseases in animals (Simmons 1). This will allow them to experiment on the animals to discover cures for humans. Science is rapidly changing and progressing to increasingly more advanced technology every second. This means the ability for people to gain access to the means of genetic engineering is getting closer. As this technology is becoming better known, the controversies surrounding genetic modifications is growing just as quick. Genetic modification for a specific outcome, designer babies, is unethical and should remain untouched. According to Kennedy the definition of genetic modification is “the alteration of the genome of a human, plant or animal by the addition of new genetic material. Genetic modifications provide a way of expressing desirable characteristics in an organism that otherwise would not display them; it is the insertion of a gene into an organism, altering the genetic makeup” (1). Originally, scientists wanted to use this technology as a method to treating conditions related to the human immune system (Simmons 1). Now there are many different ways scientists can use genetic engineering in humans, plants and animals. One of the most controversial ideas is applying this technology to allow infertile women to be able to conceive. This is done by using the eggs from a different mother, leaving the child with the genetic code inherited from three people instead of just two. From here scientists even believe to advance a step further by choosing traits of your child by selecting certain genes to make them however you please. “Designer baby” is the nickname given to this advanced genetic procedure. This could range from eye color all the way to athletic abilities. The question is, should people be allowed to use this technology for personal gain? First, does selecting for particular traits pose health risks that would not have existed otherwise? The safety of the procedures used for genetically modifying reproduction is currently under investigation, and because this is a relatively new form of reproductive technology, there is a lack of long-term data and not enough numbers of research subjects (Simmons 1). When it comes to the controversy of letting infertile women conceive, what’s in store for the future? The genetic code of three people will be passed on through future generations, leading to untold potential complications. It is still far too early to judge the potential consequences of this type of genetic technology, but if there are any negative side effects they are likely to be far reaching and extremely damaging. Still, one safety concern often raised involves the fact that most genes have more than one effect. For example, according to Danielle Simmons “in the late 1990s, scientists discovered a gene that is linked to memory and modifying this gene in mice greatly improved learning and memory, but it also caused increased sensitivity to pain” (1). Increased pain sensitivity is obviously not a desirable trait. When considering the right or wrong remember the challenge lies in overcoming the potentially catastrophic side effects which can occur if the treatment does not work. Over the years, many trainers and athletes have had the desire to better their athletic abilities by abusing scientific research in an attempt to gain an unjust advantage over their competitors. The practice known as doping, frequently abuses substances such as steroids and growth hormones. The original use of performance-enhancing drugs was meant to treat people with...
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