Genetic Engineering

Topics: Genetics, DNA, Genetic disorder Pages: 6 (1733 words) Published: April 14, 2014
Genetic Engineering is the deliberate modification of the characteristics of an organism by manipulating its genetic material (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2014). This was first tested on crops, but scientists have now fathomed the idea of genetically modifying embryos to make the “perfect child.” Thus known as a “designer baby.” This new gene tampering experimentation has raised many questions. The most important being, “is predetermining your child’s genetic makeup unethical?” I believe ethics plays a vital part when deciding how far is too far with genetic engineering. I do not believe it is unethical to use these technologies in certain cases, such as altering cells and DNA to reduce genetic diseases. Relying too heavily on the use of genetic engineering can violate the individual’s free will. It can also strip the diversity in the genetic makeup of the human race. I support the use of genetic engineering, however, our government should limit the use to genetic modification to only curing genetic mutation, diseases, and other genetic defects. But then, what do we as a society, consider a genetic defect? The textbook definition of a defect is, “falling below the norm in structure or in mental or physical function.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2014) Theoretically, a parent wants to alter her child’s intelligence because she views being below average in intelligence is a genetic defect. If everyone were designed to be very intelligent, the human race as a whole would benefit with advancements in pretty much anything. Is that unethical? Entertainment, transportation and medicine among a vast amount of other things could all be improved drastically if there were more people able to do these things. A world full of generally more capable people would be capable of doing so much more. Is that unethical? In my eyes, and many others would agree, it does not seem unethical to expand the talents of the human race overall. However, limiting genetic engineering to only fixing genetic faults can be interpreted differently in the eyes of the beholder. “Every time we get a little closer to genetic tinkering to promote health — that’s exciting and scary,” said Dr. Alan Cooperman, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. “People are afraid it will turn into a dystopian brave new world.” (Tavernise, 2014). For example, if a blind couple wanted to have a child and genetically engineer the child to be blind like them, so that they can better communicate with the kid. Is this case unethical? To the majority of society, yes. Looking at it from a political perspective, could this be a violation of the fetus’ rights? Most parents would want the best for their child, so ‘improving’ them or ‘making them better’ makes sense. Which school they go to and which hobbies a child takes part in can be choices that a parent makes, which in turn hopefully makes the child’s life better. Genetic engineering could be another choice for parents to make. Doing so, however, restricts children’s autonomy, not only during their adolescent years, but also through their adulthood, potentially. “Let’s say two parents wanted their child to be a famous pianist one day so they bestow it with musicality in its genes. The child grows up to hate music and wants to be an athlete, but settles for playing the piano because it’s what the child was designed to do.” (Simmons, 2008). Is this a violation of the child’s free will to do what it wants? Or could it be written off as just another thing the parents decide in the upbringing of their child to help them succeed in life? How would this choice differ from other governing choice your parent makes for you as a child? After all, the embryo is a minor at that point and does not have full rights to its self according to the Family Law Reform Act of 1969. But passed the age of 18 or 21 a person is considered to have attained full age and, at that point,...

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2. Mckibben, B. (2003, May 17). Design-A-Kid. The Christian Century , 22-28.
3. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (2014). genetic engineering.
4. Penn Medicine. (2011, August 10). Genetically Modified "Serial Killer" T-Cells Obliterate Tumor In Patients. Retrieved 2014, from Penn Medicine:
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7. Tavernise, S. (2014, February 25). F.D.A Weighs Fertility Method Thait Raises Ethical Questions. The New York Times .
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