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Genetic Engineering

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The streets you’re driving on are slippery with the fresh rain that just coated it. You glance to your left and see just the blinding headlights before everything goes dark. Minutes later you come to, inside your broken car. Opening the door, you stumble out, but not without a shearing pain from your leg. You drop to the asphalt. Looking over you realize that your leg is broken in two places. Suddenly there is an involuntary movement as your legs start to move on their own. Like traveling back in time, they bend back into place...healed. Now, confident you stand back up. what a great way to start 2100.

Our genetic engineering ability to alter or change part of a genetic structure has been evolving. It has and will open up possibilities for a very different and exciting future: eliminating diseases, healing illnesses, repairing damage, even feeding starving nations, these are just a beginning.

In just over 30 years we have surpassed Herb Boyer and Stanley Colen’s first genetically engineered achievement of cutting and inserting DNA together from two different organisms. We have moved from changing single cell organisms to having the ability to transfuse genetically engineered white blood cells into a four year old girl to help boost her weakened immune system. The possibilities seem as endless as our imagination.

As we continue to explore this ability, we will no doubt run into the legal problems that will surface due to the commercial applications of this genetic possibilities. Who will make the profits for the discoveries? Who will own the patents on genes? There has already been many discussions relating whether a patent can even be held for a something commercial that is based on the genetic code. Researchers of the human genome have decoded it and studies show already that genes “usually perform several and often different functions.” In fact the Nutfield Council on Bioethics states “that DNA sequences are essentially just genetic information, so that distinguishes them from other chemical compounds.” In other words genes are not chemicals. They can not be linked to just one outcome.

The number of patent issued has been declining in recent years. If we can balance the desire to profit off of our scientific discoveries with our ideals of improving our humanity, perhaps the day will come when we all walk away from accidents.





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