Regulation of Genetic Engineering
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Published: Wed, 30 Aug 2017
At 43 years old, Bruce’s life was almost completely destroyed by one disease that infected 1.7 million people and killed 594,690 thousand people in 2016 just in America according to the American Cancer Society. This disease is famously known as cancer. Bruce went to his doctor for a regular check-up and took a routine blood test. Bruce felt fine and felt no symptoms of any disease. The next day, Bruce got a call from his doctor. The doctor told him he had an elevated level of alkaline phosphatase, an enzyme in his blood he never heard.
The doctor explained to Bruce that there could be problems with his liver or bones and more tests were conducted. The tests returned and Bruce found out his liver was fine, so the doctor recommended a full-body bone scan. The doctor told Bruce, “Don’t worry, it’s not like you have cancer.” The full-body bone scan took place and halfway through scan, the technicians began to speak in hushed tones. “Did you injure your leg recently?” they asked. “I broke my leg when I was five,” Bruce explained, hopeful that would help explain things. The technicians started chattering more intensely. More tests were ordered, an x-ray, then an MRI. Then one afternoon, Bruce got a call from his doctor. “The tumor in your leg is not consistent with a benign tumor,” the doctor said. It took a second for Bruce to convert that negative info into a much more horrifying affirmative: he realized he had cancer.
Bruce sat and thought about how his life would change. He was not worried too much about himself, he was worried about his twin three-year-old daughters. “Would they wonder who I was?” Bruce thought. “Would they yearn for my approval, my love, my voice?” Bruce was facing the reality that he might never be able to walk again. Thankfully, Bruce found a doctor that was able to cure his cancer after 15 hours of surgery and chemotherapy. Afterwards he had 500 additional hours of physical therapy. Bruce’s life could have been saved by genetic engineering if researched more, but could have negative effects even worse than cancer if done incorrectly.
Genetic engineering, if researched more, has the potential to be able to completely eliminate cancer. Genetic engineering does need to be researched more and researched very carefully. If genetic engineering is researched incorrectly and something or someone was genetically modified, possibilities of consequences could happen. Not only can Genetic engineering incorrectly lead to physical consequence, genetic engineering can also have moral consequences. Genetic engineering has the ability to also play the role of God. Genetic engineering can allow a person to create a human workshop, allowing them to build humans in however they want. Genetic engineering can be very confusing so some definitions needs to be explained.
Genetic engineering and genetic cloning are often referred to as the same thing. Genetic engineering and genetic cloning are actually two different things. Genetic engineering refers to the technology used to alter and transport genomes and organisms, effectively shaping them to the desire or will of the geneticist. Genetic engineering can also be referred to as Genetic Modification or Genetic Manipulation (Genetics). Organisms that undergo or are created by the process of genetic engineering are referred to as Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs for short. Genetic cloning produces genetically exact copies of organisms. Another definition needed to be described is aesthetics. Aesthetics is described as cosmetics or individual reasons personal own benefit that does not involve with any medical issues.
Because genetic engineering is tied to many major areas in science, limitations are needed. Genetic engineering can also be used in domestic breeding, but I will only talk about molecular genetic engineering on DNA. This discussion will be talking about genetic engineering globally. Genetic engineering is an issue that happens outside America as well as inside. In fact, the first genetically engineered embryo was in china.
To understand genetic engineering more, the history and background will need to be discussed.Â Genetic engineering is trying to be used in medical uses as of right now. Genetic engineering is very similar to surgery in many ways. The original intention of surgery and genetic engineering is to heal people. The first surgeon dates back to around 800 BC, the surgeon was named Sushruta Samhita.Â Francis Bacon foretold genetic engineering in 1627. The first genetically engineered organism was created by Herb Boyer and Stanley Cohen in 1972. According to an article in New Statesman by Caroline Daniel, the Human Genome Project is an international scientific collaboration, this project started in 1990. More than two billion pounds were funded by the European public to this project. The United States is the main country in favor of this research into genetic engineering. The human Genome Project’s goal was to sequence every human gene before the year 2005. In late 1997, 50,000 genes had been mapped. As of 1998, around 250 gene therapy trials were being conducted around the world. Leroy Walters, the project director, said gene transfer might eventually cure genetic disorders. After ten years in the operation, there is only one successful gene transfer, as opposed to the 400 unsuccessful protocols conducted worldwide. The first genetic engineered human embryo happened in 2015. This embryo was not created to be given birth, just tested.
There will be three points talked about in the following discussion. The first point is genetic engineering needing regulations in the moral aspect. The second point is genetic engineering needing regulations in the commercial aspect. The final point is genetic engineering needing regulations in the medical aspects. These three points will specify why there are regulations needed for genetic engineering.
Widely known as a revolutionary scientific breakthrough, genetic engineering has been on a path toward changing the world since its introduction in 1973. However, as genetic engineering slowly enters the lives of humanity, the morals and ethics are entering public attention, and as a culture we are left to question whether the change brought on by such a discovery brings benefit and positive change, or damage and destruction to everyone. Genetic engineering is justified through applied bioethics and despite arguments against its societal implantation, should be utilized in efforts to develop into the 21st century to create a better society.
There is the concern that mankind is “playing God”, that we as a species and as a society are exceeding our natural reach and thus operating outside of our traditional boundaries, where our cultural sense of ethics and morality may not even be right. In more research and studies, scientists will be able to design children however they want. Using genetic engineering will allow parents to choose what traits their child will have. For example, the color of the child’s eyes, skin and hair will be decided. As well as, choosing the height of the baby and weight it will be able to be.
Using genetic engineering to help the child live a healthy, disease free life is one thing, but as soon as that becomes blurred with the desires of the parents of trying to control every possible genetic outcome, that is when genetic engineering crosses the lines of genetic manipulation. The dictionary defines manipulation as, to control something by yourself. Parents would be manipulating their unborn child to be something that they do not even know if it wants to be. Genetically engineering children for personal gain of the parents is lazy parenting. There are plenty of other ways to improve a child’s intelligence and athletic capabilities without interfering with genes.
If genetic engineering doesn’t start to raise enough ethical concerns for the greater population, there will be an uproar on discrimination. In the past whites and colored people weren’t allowed to be married, and in the future those who were genetically engineered will not be advised to marry those who were conceived without being altered. Society has a problem with the way they look, talk, and act now. Designing children isn’t natural. Natural would be in the womb and not in a petri dish. Those who design children are just lazy. They are practically saying they have no time to put into their child’s future so they will just pay for it.
God created everyone in his own image in his way. Regulations are needed for this because allowing humans to change God’s creation on humans is immoral. Another way that genetic engineering can play the role of God is benefiting one’s self. Researchers have found that genetic engineering could have the capability to make a human’s life longer. Many people are even looking to use genetic engineering to make humans live forever. Due to sin in the world, humans are selfish and just want to make themselves as happy as possible, even if the action is immoral.
Some humans love themselves so much that they want to clone themselves. Genetic cloning has been successfully tested and is in current research as of right now. Regulations on cloning humans are definitely needed because God has created each person in a unique way. The only benefit of having a clone is so that the person does not have to do work and so they can be lazy. The bible even talks about being lazy. Proverbs 13:4 says “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” The only reason to create a clone of one’s self is for selfish reasons. There are also ethical concerns in cloning. Many people would just have twins walking around and one would be real and one would not be a clone. This could cause an outrage in humanity.
If a regulation is not set between using genetic engineering for treatment and using genetic engineering for enhancement, many parents could use it for eugenic purposes. This could cause ethical concerns but also social concerns as well. This would give the rich even more advantages than they already have to begin with and drive the social classes even farther apart. The use of genetic engineering may also lead towards genetic discrimination. As the world is already full of discrimination, genetic engineering would increase the numbers of discrimination against people.
With genetic engineering, scientists would be able to change unborn children to make them acceptable to the human world. Every genetic engineered human would be “fake,” and not be of God’s creation but the creation of somebody else. The entire world would be composed of humans that would not be themselves, but rather other people they wish to become. People would wish they would have been genetically engineered because of advantages in genetic engineering.
Some might say that genetically engineering humans for enhancements and cosmetics makes the person happy and we should not get rid of happiness. The purpose of our life is not to be happy, but to glorify God in whatever we do. Treatments in genetic engineering is different than aesthetics. God has given humans to have free will and choice but just because something is available for us to do, does not mean it is good. God already gave us our lives the way he made them. Exodus 4:11 says, “The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” This does not mean that we should not heal the blind or the deaf, God created us in his own way specifically. God allowed humans to have medicine, but just because allows sickness in the world does not mean that we should not use medicine. Regulations are needed in genetic engineering in the moral aspect.
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