Biological Anthropology 101
Professor Deanna Heikkinen
06 October 2010
The Effects of Genetic Research in the Modern World
What makes the human genome so incredibly fascinating? Is it the thousands of genetic sequences of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) or the fact that all life is specified by genomes? Or could it be the fact that a genome contains the building blocks of life and without it, life would not exist as it is at this very moment? These are the types of questions that spark the interest in the human genome and genetic research. From the beginning of time, scientists have always shown great interest in the whereabouts of the human species, being that the human species are the most complex organisms living to this present day. Who wouldn’t want to know more about oneself, especially if it could be beneficial to obtain that knowledge? Why are human beings so complex? Why do humans behave the way they do? Why do individuals have different skin colors or hair or heights and sizes? All of these questions and more are answered through the help of genetic research. Genetic research plays both a positive and negative role in the world today. Through genetic research, the entire human genome was deciphered, revealing the mystery of the composition of human beings and life itself. But the question is what the effects of genetic research are in these modern times? The answer is both simple and complex. Genetic research has caused a heated debate in the modern world today between religious faith traditions and scientists, an ongoing battle since the time of Darwin. Once again the issue of creation versus evolution stands on trial. The effects of genetic research in the modern world are both positive and negative. The positive effects genetic research provides are advances in molecular medicine, energy sources and environmental applications, and better insight in bio archaeology, anthropology, evolution, and human migration (“Human Genome Project”). The negative effects genetic research provides are controversial and ethical debates, ecological issues caused by new organisms created through genetic engineering, and the unpredictability of the effects and consequences of genetic engineering. Through the help of genetic research, molecular medicine has advanced further than one’s mind can imagine. With the rapid advancement of molecular medicine, scientists have discovered ways to isolate and find genetic viruses or diseases that can react negatively in the human body and have found ways to destroy them or treat them ahead of time before they can become detrimental or even fatal. Scientists have also improved the diagnosis of diseases through the help of genetic research by being able to determine possible future diseases a person may have based on their genes (“Human Genome Project”). “In the past, the genetic basis of a medical condition was something that was unusually diagnosed or considered after the diseases had manifested itself,” (Stanford, Allen, and Anton 76). Genetics has also allowed scientists the opportunity to create custom drugs based on individual genetic profiles, which could enhance the chance of recovery for the individual. This discovery has allowed numerous individuals a chance at survival especially if their body rejects the common drugs utilized by others in the same condition (“Human Genome Project”). Genetics plays a large role in microbial genomics as well. Microbial genomics has been proven to be beneficial to all life forms, as it pertains to positive advancements in energy and ecological conservation. ”Microbes, which make up most of the earth’s biomass, have evolved for some 3.8 billion years. They have been found in virtually every environment, surviving and thriving in extremes of heat, cold, radiation, pressure, salt, acidity, and darkness. Often in these environments, no other forms of life are found and the only nutrients come from inorganic matter. The diversity and...