Gene Manipulation

Topics: Pregnancy, DNA, Genetics Pages: 7 (2453 words) Published: March 19, 2000
Throughout time, man has always questioned science. Man has been curious about life, space, our bodies, and our existence. Man has gone as far as to the moon, and cloning. Everyday there are new developments being researched. Along with these developments come the people's opinion. Many people question the positive outcomes and negative outcomes of procedures such as gene manipulation, cloning, in vitro fertilization and fetal tissue implants. To this day, scientists are researching and developing ways to "design" their children by selecting their sex, height, intelligence, and color of eyes. People question the morality of gene manipulation. Is it right to "design" our children? What are the consequences? The practice of gene manipulation is seen as Frankenstein-ish, but it is solely to benefit all humans with longer and healthier lives.

Gene manipulation is able to screen disorders of the fetus, prevent diseases from occurring to the following generations and allows parents to design their children. Prenatal testing is a very common procedure that is done . Nine out of ten pregnant women submit to some type of prenatal screening. (Golden) Dominant disorders such as Down Syndrome, which is a form of retardation, can be detected from a fetus. Since 1996, gene therapy has been the cure for patients suffering from a genetic disease. This is done by slipping a healthy gene in the cells of one organ of the patient. (Begley) Parents of this fetus can then decide on the procedures that will be done on their baby to cure him/her. Not only will the parents of the baby prepare for the surgeries but they can prepare themselves emotionally. This is helpful because during labor the parents will not be in shock when told that their child has complications. Older pregnant women who usually have more complications during pregnancy benefit from genetic screening. Doctors usually recommend "more invasive procedures" in which actual fetal cells are collected from the womb's amniotic fluid or placenta . (Golden) Receiving the results from the tests, she can determine whether it is safe for her to continue with the pregnancy, especially since some tests provide accuracy as high as ninety-nine percent. (Golden) Unfortunately, not all test results come out positive. Approximately ninety-five percent of couples who receive "bad" news from genetic screening, decide to have an abortion. (Toriello) Abortion is legal but still many view it as a sin. But why should a woman continue to carry a child knowing that it will not live after it is born? Why should she suffer an extra nine months? But with further developments of gene manipulation, when couples receive "bad" news, they can cure the disorder by gene therapy, thus, abortion will no longer be the answer to the negative results of genetic screenings. Genetic screening allows parents to contribute more to the health of their child by knowing the complications beforehand.

Not only can the fetus be cured of disorders, but it also decrease the probabilities of the offspring obtaining such diseases. For instance, if a woman is bearing a boy of a father with the history of prostate cancer, then the baby will probably develop that cancer. But with the cell-suicide gene inserted to the fetus, it will make his prostate cells self-destruct. He will not die of the cancer and neither will his sons since the gene that the doctors gave him copied itself into every cell in his body, including the sperm cells. (Begley) If this happens, the genetic change would affect that child's offspring and the following generations. " Life would enter a new phase", says biophysicist Gregory Stock of UCLA, " one in which we seize control of our own evolution". (Begley) Another case would be where the mother can carry hemophilia, a disease in a person's blood, and not suffer from it. She could now have the choice to screen her child's blood to see if he or she has healthy blood. She could also choose a procedure in where...
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