Genetic Engineering on Humans
Principles of Engineering II
Visualize a world where anyone can do anything, regardless of age or physical conditions. Nobody would age nor develop any illnesses or disorders. Essentially, this would be a society in which everyone is perfect. Such a thought would be the result of genetic engineering, which is the modification of an organism’s genome using biotechnology. Scientists alter the genetic makeup of an organism by using techniques that remove inherited material or inject DNA from outside the organism either directly into the host or into a cell that is then crossbred with the host (Clapper, 2013). The goal of genetically modifying organisms is to fix imperfections and improve their capabilities. In humans, genes that cause diseases and disorders can be identified and defenses can be put up to fight them. After hours of research and weeks of studying on the topic, I have reached a conclusion that humans should be able to be genetically engineered, but there needs to be a limit to how much they are modified. Some benefits of this include the absence of diseases, the ability for parents to choose the physical traits for their child, and increased human capabilities. One major benefit of the genetic engineering of humans is the termination of physical disorders. Life without diseases would mean that everyone, no matter the age, would be healthy and capable of doing whatever they please. The Human Genome Project is currently working on identifying all the genes in the human body and their purposes (Hanna, 2006). They will then be able to work on preventing diseases by removing or replacing the defective gene in a process known as gene therapy. In the movie GATTACA, Vincent, who was born without the aid of genetic selection, was tested to show that he had a high probability of developing mental disorders as well as a heart defect (GATTACA, 1997). However, the second son Anton, who was genetically modified, is perfectly healthy and is predicted to live forever. This shows that genetic engineering can indeed alter or even fully eliminate disorders or negative conditions. For example, scientists using gene therapy were able to cure twenty two children with severe combined immunodeficiency, providing the first strong piece of evidence that this process was effective (Campbell, Reece, and Simon, 2007). In addition, another way in which genetic engineering could be a benefit is that parents would be able to choose how they want their child to turn out. According to the article Pros and Cons of Genetic Engineering in Humans, parents could alter their baby’s appearance however they want to (Bird, 2011). Genetic engineering can also be used to eliminate superficial traits parents may perceive as flaws, such as oversized ears for example. In GATTACA, the parents chose to use genetic selection to conceive their second child Anton (GATTACA, 1997). Julian Savulescu, a philosopher and bioethicist, believes that genetically engineering will soon have developed to affect an individual’s personality instead of just their physical appearance (Alleyne, 2012). He argues that, “rational design would help lead to a better, more intelligent and less violent society in the future.” This means that future genetically modified children could not only be physically attractive but also better people in general, capable of making smarter decisions. Last but not least, genetic engineering could provide us with better capabilities. Humans could be modified to have superhuman strength and immeasurable intellect. Animals can be modified have human traits, so humans should theoretically also be able to be engineered with physical characteristics from different species. A National Human Genome Research Institute team reported a mutation in a gene that codes for a muscle protein known as myostatin which can increase muscle mass and enhance racing performance in a breed of dogs (Sato,...
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