In the 21st century, genetics will dominate our food, our health, and our environment. Scientists are now talking about the latest taboo on the horizon, hand picking the genes of our children. The questions arise everywhere from society. Have we gone too far with the human genome project? Do we risk creating children as a medical commodity? Could it ultimately lead to parents demanding genetically-engineered offspring with good looks, intelligence, or athletic abilities? It is my position, from a practical medical perspective, that although this research has much potential, the adverse effects outweigh the positive gains. When this research is used under the motives of cosmetics, it will adversely affect our society and the human race as a whole. Presented in this paper are the types of genetic engineering, their purposes, their potential, and the controversy of this research.
There are two main types of genetic engineering. Somatic modifications involve adding genes to cells other than egg or sperm cells. For example, if a person had a disease caused by a defective gene, a healthy gene could be added to the affected cells to treat the disorder. The distinguishing characteristic of somatic engineering is that it is non-inheritable, meaning the new gene would not be passed to the recipient’s offspring. Germline engineering would change genes in eggs, sperm, or very early embryos. This type of engineering is inheritable, meaning that the modified genes would appear not only in any children that resulted from the procedure, but in all succeeding generations. This application is by far the more consequential as it could open the door to the perpetual and irreversible alteration of the human species.
In consideration of the idea of creating a designer baby, it is understandable why there are some parents wanting to choose features in a child. It is simply because it is possible, and it is human nature to desire quality in anything we obtain....
Cited: Brownlee, Shannon. “Designer Babies.” Washington Monthly, March 2002
Flam, Faye. “The Ethics of Having a Baby For Another Childs Benefit.” Philadelphia Inquirer Oct 2000
Silver, Lee, Professor and Geneticist, Princeton University. Frontline, PBS.
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