Creating Human Life Through Genetics
In today’s world, people are learning a great deal in the rapidly growing and developing fields of science and technology. Almost Each day, an individual can see or hear about new discoveries and advances in these fields of study. One very common topic that has been in the news and social talk of all people recently is what us human beings will be able to do through the development of science and technology in the future. The most heated and controversial of these topics that I notice is in the field of genetic testing and engineering in humans. Many people have wondered about whether the manipulation of human cells is somehow contrary to the laws of nature or religion especially in childbirth. “Genetic testing and gene therapy are at the forefront of medicine’s future, according to experts in the field” (D’Allegro).
There are many reasons why scientists want to learn more on the genetic make-up of humans. Currently, about one-third of the human genetic code has been sequenced through a federally funded effort known as the Human Genome Project, a study run by the National Institute of Health’s Genome Research Institute, to code the entire human genetic map. Scientists are estimating that by 2003, the entire genetic code will be found and then they will be able to test for a wide variety of common disorders. Some of the main disorders the geneticists hope to cure are Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, and diabetes, and by doing the research, they also hope to stumble onto vaccines and other cures for diseases.
Even though there could be many advantages in the field of human genetics, there are many ethical comments and questions raised by all types of people. The main point most scientists try to make is that by performing eugenics, the human race would be unbalanced (D’Allegro). They say that the genetic advances might be reserved only for the wealthy, which then would separate the classes of people even more than they already are today (D’Allegro).
A second main point people raise on this issue is that by manipulating human genes, scientists are playing the role of god. Many people say that human life cannot be “intellectual property” (Fischer). Problems come when some scientists insist that the research be conducted using materials cut from living human embryos (Fischer). When asked why they perform this procedure, many say, “Because it’s there” (Fischer). This
stirs up much controversy with people that think “creating” humans should be left as god’s job.
After researching the main points and facts from both sides of the issue, I strongly feel that human genetics is wrong. I agree with Mark Nicholls of the Movement Against the Cloning of Humans, which he stated that, “This is a very dangerous science and soon we may not even have control over our own DNA.” I also think that individuals are special because god made every person different, and that by creating a race of people who are all equally talented defeats the purpose of god.
While finding information on human genetics, I found a lot of facts that were never told to the public. One of these intriguing facts had to do with the cloned sheep named Dolly. It stated that members of the scientific team closely examined Dolly’s chromosomes and found that even though she was only three years old, her genetic make-up appeared to be much older (Ramsay). This raised concerns that animals cloned would age faster and be more susceptible to disease than animals from normal birth (Ramsay).
Another interesting and alarming fact on genetics was that scientists are only inches away from actually creating a whole human being. The first primate ever made was created in Oregon in January of 2000, and scientists in South Korea created an embryo from the cells of an adult woman, although they halted the embryo’s growth before it divided beyond four cells (Fischer). These issues are very scary to think about because the scientists are playing around with a field in which they actually learn through trial and error with living animals and people.
Many scientists look past the ethical issues in order to “help the economy of the future” with their research (D’Allegro). They state that the genetic information found in an individual could help insurers, employers, and the society by running background checks on the person to insure they will be healthy further in the future (D’Allegro). Genetic testing can also help prolong life by allowing medical providers to customize individual’s health care based on what diseases or conditions they are predisposed to (D’Allegro).
Even though genetic testing could help our economy, I strongly feel that the common individual would be greatly affected by this. Many employers and insurance companies would require a blood sample for testing and if the person doesn’t have “super-human” genes, they will probably be denied at most places (D’Allegro). To date, there are no laws or regulations on the confidentiality of an individual’s genetic information (D’Allegro). With genetically engineered individuals running our economy, it would place us common natural people in a second rate class no matter how hard we work.
I am for scientific research however; I feel that this issue is not meant to be played around with by us naïve human beings. God creates everyone to be unique no matter how different or odd some may seem. Our whole society today revolves around a mass cultural diversity of people with different thoughts and feelings. Just because the technology is there doesn’t give the right for us to meddle in something that god has been doing since man was created. We have the technology to destroy continents of people and even the whole world with a push of a button however, that doesn’t make it
D’Allegro, Joseph. “Genetics is the future of medicine.” Dec. 20, 1999.
Fischer, Joannie Schrof. “Copies upon copies A patent for human clones is just the
next step.” U.S. News and World Report. Feb. 7, 2000.
Ramsay, Sarah. “Embryo splitting produces primate clone.” Lancett Ltd. 1/15/00.
An argumentative paper on the ethics of genetic testing