Genetic Engineering MAG

By Diana Peek, Rockwall, TX

Bam! A 16-year-old takes off running at his high school track meet. He is not a quarter of the way around the track when the first of his five opponents reaches the finish line.

Now, in the 21st century, many people say the world is on the verge of a scientific revolution that brings one of the most ­controversial ideas of all time: genetic ­engineering of humans. I believe this is morally wrong, dangerous, and will lead to problems in our society.

The ethical dilemmas of human genetic engineering are what make this issue so controversial. Humans are trying to play too large a role in the universe. Many people believe that genetic engineering of humans is ­interfering with natural processes like the random selection of genes for looks and talent passed from parents to offspring. Human genetic engineering could let individuals “play God” and choose and manipulate their genes and those of their children. I believe that giving people this power goes against the basic forces of ­nature. All that is really needed is for us to accept ourselves the way we are.

The idea of a divided society in the near future is a troubling and likely consequence of human genetic engineering. Societies have always been divided by varying degrees of inequity and bias. Now, with the emergence of the genetic revolution, society entertains the prospect of a new and more serious form of segregation. One based on genotype.

The destructiveness of prejudice and discrimination is unmistakable. Imagine a world where the rich not only hold all the power, but they become superhuman. They could do things far beyond even the best abilities of normal people. Genetic engineering will bring about a rift between the upper-class citizens who are fortunate enough to afford such technology, and the lower classes who must rely only on their natural abilities. Human genetic enhancement would guarantee that families who can afford it would be able to perpetuate their social and political dominance.

Technology, or lack of enough advanced technology, is another topic of controversy for the genetic engineering of humans. It is interesting to think about the impact technology is having on the world, but is mankind ready for this kind of change?

Genetic engineering has the potential to treat and possibly cure a variety of cancers and chronic diseases, but in reality, this technology is not as promising and reliable as it may seem. Seven years after the first gene-therapy trial on humans, a complete cure for even one patient has not been produced. The technology seems to have an impressive array of benefits, but the science is still in its infancy.

It is simply part of the nature of mankind to want to be better, stronger, healthier, happier, and capable of achieving more. On the other hand, some things are better left unaltered. Change is not ­always good.



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This article has 126 comments.


on Jan. 21 2009 at 4:27 pm
In some ways I do agree but in others I do not.It could be used for great things , but also awful things. If I was asked that Question I would say under certain terms, but more than one person would have to dicide though.

natti.lane said...
on Jan. 18 2009 at 10:41 pm
I actually disagree. Genetic engineering can be a good thing. I just recently spent alot of time researching it and uncovered many interesting facts. A while ago, a virus hit and killed all of the papaya plants, EXCEPT the genetically modified ones. Now, the only papaya avalible is genetically changed papaya. No other type of papaya can be grown. Yes, with advanced technology comes great risks, but the advantages are also great. I do not agree with genetically modifying human genes for cosmetic purposes, but I do think that testing for genetic diseases in fetus' is a positive thing. For example, if a fetus tests positive for sickle cell disease, than the child will not live. However, if the fetus tests positive for sickle cell disease, then the genes can be modified to either make the sickle cell gene gone compleatly or have the child be a carrier of the gene. If the child is a carrier of the gene, the child will still have many risks in life. If my fetus tested positive for such a disease, I would not want my child to have to suffer in life, especially if I had the chance to do something about their suffering. Also, genetic engineering can decrease the risks of certain vitamin deficiencys. Two genetic engineers modified rice, to lessen the amount of vitamin A defiecincy in poorer parts of Asia. The modified rice has more vitamin A. 200 grams of rice has the daily amount of vitamin A that children need in places like India, and Vietnam. If genetic engineering can do such things why should it be stopped? All technology has risks, but like I said earlier, technology also has wonderful benifits.

tweedle dee said...
on Jan. 17 2009 at 3:04 am
i agree 100% with you. this can and will backfire if it continues, and the results will be absolutly devastating. especially what you said about segregation. this has the potential to tear our country apart. god made us how we are for a reason and when we dont see it and change ourselves so drastically, we destroy what we are supposed to do. thank you tons for writing this, i hope everyone reads this!

on Jan. 14 2009 at 7:25 am
i totally agree with because when we are in conception we get everything we need

on Jan. 7 2009 at 4:17 am
I totally agree with you. This may seem like a great thing - to be immune to cancer, become the "superhuman" - but in reality it could backfire. This technology could be used for "evil" purposes. This reminds me of what Hitler did in the war. He bred humans to become the perfect soldiers for him. They were strong and intelligent - perfect for war.

on Jan. 3 2009 at 6:57 pm
I agree with you. It isn't right for man to go this far.


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