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.
Quellet-2 One main type of genetic research in humans is the ability to clone.
Scientists first have used this technique to clone body parts for people. This
allows the scientists to take the patient’s own genetic make-up and grow a
part that he or she may need that will not be rejected by his or her own body.
The next step the scientists have taken is in the area of eugenics, which means,
“good breeding.” This technique is defined as, “the science of improving
the physical and mental qualities of human beings through genetics and
cloning.” Scottish geneticists first demonstrated this practice in 1997 with a
sheep named Dolly that was produced from a cell of an adult female sheep. From
this being the foundation of the research, scientists are hoping that in the
future they will be able to better the human race genetically. 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 Quellet-3 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. Quellet-4 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 na?ve 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 Quellet-5 ethical just because its
there! Quellet-6 WORKS CITED D’Allegro, Joseph. “Genetics is the future of
medicine.” Dec. 20, 1999. http://firstsearch.oclc.org/FETCH:renco=8. 3/16/00.
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. http://proquest.umi.com/pqweb?TS=9532139.
3/16/00. Ramsay, Sarah. “Embryo splitting produces primate clone.” Lancett
Ltd. 1/15/00. http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?TS=9532143. 3/16/00.