Genetics

Should Testing be Approved for Human Genetic Engineering – Yes



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With the recent breakthroughs and advances in DNA research and unprecedented progress being made such as in the completion of the Human Genome Project, the possibilities of genetically modifying humans becoming startlingly real, and we find ourselves in a situation of conflict between ethnic values and scientific progress. What are the moral implications of genetic engineering such as cloning and the possible associated negative impacts? Yet, looking beyond this, can we ignore the seemingly infinite possibilities it opens up, and the countless, innumerable amount of lives it can potentially save or improve? Genetic engineering, cloning, and the associated sciences are no longer a part of science-fiction or fantasy: the possibilities are already here, what's left is how we shall deal with it.

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the molecule carrying genetic information in all living systems, and thus can be considered the building blocks of life itself. Mastering it translates to the exciting, yet frightening, possibility of changing almost everything in the human body up to a molecular level. It is perhaps, the classic example of Man playing God himself.

With the continued progress and research into the genetic field, we may soon face the prospect of "designer babies". It is inevitable that when the technology becomes available to us, millions will cry out for the use of genetic engineering to either cure babies from genetic diseases or perhaps prevent certain hereditary illnesses such as autism and cancers from being passed on. Yet, when we start genetically modifying our offspring for the initial noble purposes, where do we draw the line? Other trends will soon naturally follow, such as perhaps genetically modifying babies to be taller, slimmer, with colored eyes, or simply whatever society dictates how a person should ideally look. Suddenly the idea of having entire populations looking identical, with everyone's appearances depending on the current fashion, trend, or even fad of that period, becomes too close for comfort. One should also note that such behavior emulates the Nazi's quest of eugenics more than anything else.

Or perhaps consider the prospect of black market "human farms", where genetically modified cloned humans are bred and raised to create the perfect organs produced to satisfy demand in the already thriving human organs market. "Celebrity brothels" are another ominous possibility, where the DNA of well-known models or famous personalities can be used to clone sex-workers (or even sex-slaves) both blessed, and doomed, with the virtually identical looks of these stars.

Yet, with all potential abuses and possible harmful effects on society aside, genetic engineering opens up countless windows of opportunities and possibilities for the world today. Currently terminal genetic diseases, including cancer, could turn out to be effortlessly curable in the future. Mental or physical disabilities might be able to be completely overcome with further advancement in stem cell research. Life expectancies may possibly further increase exponentially with the prospect of renewable human organs. Looking ahead, all of a sudden immortality - the forbidden fruit to man since the dawn of time, may not be out of our reach. Can we really afford giving up such extensive possibilities? Should intangibles, doomsday scenarios, or apprehension be allowed to cause us to stagnate and get in the way of further progress? Certainly, and surely, the answer is no.

Everything in the universe has potential for abuse, and genetic engineering is admittedly no exception. Yet, instead of merely focusing on the negative aspects and banning it altogether, what genetic engineering or DNA research really needs is strict regulation and control to be made sure it is being used only used to better or save lives. To put in simple terms, the line needs to be clearly drawn, and strict legislation must be enforced to make sure no one crosses it. Surely, as members of society, we have progressed thus far enough to realize that the millions and millions of lives that could be potentially saved or improved are worth far more than anything else!

Take for example, the internet. Initially thought to merely be a portal for sharing simple information, it evolved incomparably into a hub of pornography, cyber-crime, and illegal file-sharing, with copyright infringements made every few seconds. If only the various governments had the foresight to impose strict regulations at its early stages of development, the internet would not have become as impossible to control as it is today. The same goes with genetic engineering: above all else, it requires strict legislation and regulation to keep it within control and preventing the numerable doomsday scenarios from being too close for comfort.

It is not reasonable, plausible or prudent to attempt banning further research into genetics and DNA: take for example the USA that has halted all genetic-related research and progress due to moral complications, allowing other more pragmatic countries such as South Korea or even Singapore to surge onwards in these fields and gain a considerable head start over their western counterparts. Genetic engineering isn't going to go away; so halt the research, stop further progress, and continue to demand crucial examinations of the moral complications before taking further actions, and soon, definitely, you will find that all you've managed to ensure in the wake of the progress of others is that the only one left behind would simply be yourselves.

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