Should Genetic Engineering Be Controlled by Law?

Topics: Genetic engineering, DNA, Genetically modified food Pages: 6 (986 words) Published: February 7, 2010
Should Genetic Engineering Be Controlled by Law?

“Just as the success of a corporate body in making money need not set the human condition

ahead, neither does every scientific advance automatically make our lives more meaningful” (

Professor George Wald, Noble Prize winning biologist, The Dangers of Genetic Engineeering

1976, p.45) . Genetic engineering is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genes. It uses the

techniques of molecular cloning and transformation to alter the structure and characteristics of the

genes directly(Wikipedia). In the last decade, genetic engineering has become an important

subject in engineering, biotechnology, and economics. It has become a controversial debate

between advocates of science from one hand, and the advocates of religion, which is apparently the

adversary of science, from the other hand. Supporters of science believe that genetic engineering is

a way of technological and scientific development and advancement. For instance, improving the

crop technology will eventually lead to more resources, more production, and therefore to

economic amelioration. In addition, scientists argue that genetic engineering can be considered

more of a human innovation to bend the laws of nature to their species' benefit, rather than a way

to usurp the Creator's role. However, religion derides genetic engineering for one major reason:

God is the only Creator of the world, and as part of religion, it is not allowed to create or

manipulate an organism’s genes because it belies this eternal belief. These two dogmas render

genetic engineering very sensitive and critical. Due to this fact, laws should be set to keep the

research on check. Laws should control genetic engineering by prohibiting human cloning and

animal cloning and labeling the genetically modified food .

Laws should prohibit human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, or manipulating with

the human DNA concerning life spam or age. The reason for this prohibition is the protection of

mankind’s dignity, uniqueness, and his existence. In the United Nations General Assembly’s 59th

meeting, most of the UN countries voted that human cloning should be prohibited. The first draft

resolution A/C.6/59/L.2 stated that “the convention would seek to impose a global ban on the

cloning of human embryos regardless of the purpose, i.e. including a ban on "therapeutic" cloning

based on embryonic stem-cell research”. This draft resolution was characterized as

“being critical for the protection of the dignity of the human embryo, as well as for the prevention

of the potential exploitation of millions of women whose eggs would be harvested for purposes of

undertaking research”(Office of Legal Affairs, United Nations, agenda item 150). In addition,

human being’s life spam is only controlled by God and cannot be manipulated. Doing so could

have untoward effects, not merely on an individual, but ultimately on the whole of humanity,

perhaps even changing “what it means to be human”(William R. Clark, Oxford University).

Furthermore, laws should prohibit animal cloning or creating transgenic animals.

Transgenic animals are animals that have, through genetic engineering, genes from other plants

and animals. Creating transgenic animals is considered not only threatening to natural ecosystems,

“but also devastating as a form of mistreatment”.  This concept centers upon the notion of species

integrity, the idea that every animal, whether owned by humans or not, has a natural right to have

its genetic code left intact and untouched. This notion of integrity, though calling for a complete

ban on transgenic animals, centers mostly on the use of biotechnology on agricultural animals

because of the widespread threat such animals pose to natural ecosystems (Andrew P. Berzigian,

Detroit College of Law). Animal rights advocates also argue...
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