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Genetic Engineering

Gene therapy and research has blossomed throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s (Vickery 644). Specifically, Ann Vickery observes that the intense interest and activity in genetic engineering today stems from a discovery made during the early 1970s that certain classes of enzymes could precisely cut and splice DNA material into manageable fragments in ways never known before (Vickery 644). Thus, it became possible for scientists to study genes in the laboratory by cutting them apart and splicing them in different ways (Vickery 644). The ability to recombine DNA, however, is a very controversial subject for it involves the very basic building block of human life. The power to recombine this building block is, essentially, the power to alter the creation of life.

Vickery notes that one obvious benefit of genetic engineering is the possibility of finding ways to correct and prevent congenital defects that cause diseases in humans such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, Downs Syndrome, sickle cell anemia, and Tay-Sachs Disease (Vickery 646). Undoubtedly, this would be a tremendous advance for humankind and would alleviate much human suffering. In addition, Vickery notes that gene research can have a global effect, particularly in terms of alleviating malnutrition and famine (646). By altering the gene structures of plant crops, scientists can make them more resistant to their environment and reduce the number of nutrients they require from the soil (Vickery 646).

However, Dennis Chamberland establishes that just like any other human activity, genetic engineering can be used for evil purposes (Chamberland 658). He notes that, for example, since some genetic diseases only affect certain races, scientists could conceivably copy nature and create an organism to carry out genocide. But, by far, the greatest concern surrounding the issue of genetic engineering is its power, in conjunction with the manipulation of human germ cells, to ...

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Genetic Engineering. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:02, September 29, 2020, from