Human Gene Manipulation

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Junior (College 3rd year) ・Biology ・APA ・8 Sources

Human gene manipulation is a controversial challenge with mixed arguments. Scientists argue that gene manipulation offer advantages to the society such as elimination of incurable diseases. It also should enhance favorable human traits as properly as prolong the lifespan. However these benefits appear to be outweighed by both consequential and non consequential threats posed via the outcome of the gene manipulation. Some of the major worries include the ethics surrounding the technology and the freedom of preference by the manipulated persons. Economic concern should not be underestimated as the technology is highly-priced and time consuming. Other concerns include loss of organic diversity and loss of value of the human diversity.

Some of the issues thaе arise are the possibility of introduction of new genetic defect due to manipulation at the cellular level. Very little is known about the cell composition and its metabolism thereby manipulation could be posing a bigger problem and more dangerous.

Genetic engineering draws debate on both short term and long term effects of gene manipulation on the society. The proponents of the technology believe that it could offer a bright future to the universe. (Baxter, 2007) It is proposed that through genetic engineering there could be inherited disease free world especially incurable such as Cystic Fibrosis. The technology also promises to extend human lifespan and boost the intelligence among many others. However, the technology is faced with critics and objectives from various disciplines pointing out problems such as loss of biological diversity, economic burden due to high costs and the degradation of the human social values. Several milestones have been achieved towards human genes manipulation, but there are still concerns about the risks involved in the technology and could not be ignored. This paper discusses both the benefits and the flaws in genetic engineering. (Foht, 2015)

Critics argue that the disadvantages of genetic manipulation outweigh the advantages.

One of the benefits of genetic engineering is the elimination of genetic disorders such as Alzheimer Huntington, Hemophilia, Cystic Fibrosis and Down syndrome. (Wieghofer, 2016)  These conditions are as a result of flaws in the genetic makeup of an individual.  Germ line therapy could be a solution by correcting the genetic defects thereby preventing the genetic diseases.  There is also a possibility of altering the parental gametes to avoiding passing on the traits to the offspring. The technology could be a cure for the conditions thereby giving the individuals the opportunity to live healthy lives. However, the gene manipulation could pose a threat to the genetic diversity which dictates human survivability. The elimination of the genes alters the phenotype thereby decreasing the diversity. Loss of genetic diversity poses a threat to the adaptability of the population to the environmental changes. The loss of genetic diversity could lead to the loss of useful genes thereby posing future problems in the human population. (College, 2009)

Another benefit of gene manipulation is the development of desirable human traits such as athleticism, high intelligence, height, eye color. All these traits have values in them that make the human race appreciate each’s contribution to the society. (Drlica, 1997)Gene manipulation could make it possible to have beings that have the high intelligence or could run fast. Such traits could be useful in certain areas such as the military.  However, there is a risk of human homogeneity due to similar preferences. It could also lead to genetic discrimination as employers would prefer human beings with enhanced traits as opposed to the natural human beings. Manipulations of human target genes limit the behaviors of the person. For example, a person with athleticism could only be athletic has no option of exploring capabilities. It is believed to undermine the authenticity of individual’s success. (Resnik & Vorhaus, 2006)

Gene manipulation could offer the benefit of a longer lifespan. It is believed that some of the diseases shorten the life of human beings. (Tanaka, 2010)Eliminating these diseases through gene manipulation could delay death. Genetic engineering could also hasten the adaptability to environmental changes compared to natural evolution. However, gene manipulation could create other unexpected genetic defects especially when the alterations are at cellular level. This is because very little is known about the cell metabolism and composition. Another drawback to the technology is the cost involved. The various tests and trials could demand huge amounts of resources that could otherwise be used to benefit the society. Also, some of these procedures could take years to yield results, therefore, making it expensive to sustain. (National Human Genome Research Institute, 2016)

In conclusion, human genetics has both benefits and disadvantages that cannot be overlooked. Some of the advantages highlighted include the elimination of genetic diseases, enhancement of favorable traits, prolonging the human lifespan.  The technology is faced with drawbacks such as loss of natural biodiversity, high costs incurred during trials and tests, and danger of imposed genetic defects during manipulation.

References

Baxter, P. (2007). From Gene Replacement to Gene Manipulation. Development Medicine & Child Neurology , 563-563.

College, C. W. (2009, July 29). Human Genetic Diversity and the Threat to the Survivability of Human Populations. Retrieved from Ohio University: https://www.ohio.edu/ethics/2003-conferences/human-genetic-diversity-and-the-threat-to-the-survivability-of-human-populations/

Drlica, K. (1997). Understanding DNA and Gene Cloning. New York: Wiley Publishers.

Foht, B. (2015, December 4). Conservatives and progressives both have reasons for opposing it. Retrieved from National Review: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/428024/human-genetic-engineering-wrong

National Human Genome Research institute. (2016, April). Genetic Enhancement. Retrieved from National Human Genome Research institute: https://www.genome.gov/10004767/

resnik, D. B., & Vorhaus, D. B. (2006). Genetic modifiction and Genetic Determinism. NCBI.

Tanaka, J. (2010). Gene manipulation of chick embryos in vitro, early chick culture, and long survival in transplanted eggs. Development, Growth & Differentiation , 629-634.

Wieghofer, P. (2016). Genetic Manipulation of Microglia During brain development and disease. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease , 299-309.

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