Genetic Engineering - More Than "Designer Babies" | Teen Ink

Genetic Engineering - More Than "Designer Babies"

September 6, 2014
By BandGeekAndProud PLATINUM, Burlington, Massachusetts
BandGeekAndProud PLATINUM, Burlington, Massachusetts
23 articles 0 photos 50 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Albert Einstein

Genetic engineering should be considered a valuable tool to enhance the promise of huimanity, which is simply doing all the good we can for each other, rather than seen as something sinister undermining it. Humans are, by nature, social creatures, living and creating connections with each other throughout our lives. We also have empathy, which allows us to sympathize and feel each other's pain. Naturally, then, the promise of humanity is that we, unlike so many animals lower on the evolutionary ladder, are willing and able to help the other people we meet throughout our lives. Genetic engineering is a topic at the fronteirs of modern science that could offer a great deal of good to the human race. It would advance the promise of humanity by creating many new ways to do good in the world - but only if we let it.

Genetic engineering can provide a route to countless new medical therapies. We now have the ability to look at a developing fetus'sgenetic code, identify health problems and birth defects, and correct them so that the child is born completely healthy. This medical technology could save countless young lives and improve even more than that, as not all genetic defects are fatal, but many can seriously hinder a person throughout their life.

In additon to changing our own genetics, we are able to manipulate the genetics of other organisms for human benefit, a pro of genetic engineering its critics often fail to recognize. Food can be enhanced to carry more vitamins and minerals, or even to serve as protection against diseases. Plants can be modified to produce more fruits and vegatables and livestock more meat, providing a possible first step to ending the world hunger crisis. Human DNA segments can be used to get bacteria to manufacture human proteins. People who lack the ability to produce these proteins can use these synthetic proteins, such as humulin, a synthetic form of human insulin for diabetics. Before humulin, diabetics had to use cow insulin, which many patients' bodies recognized as foreign and rejected. If we as a society have the power to do so much good for so many people and improve countless lives, and we choose not to, what does that say about the kind of society we are?

Some critics of genetically modifying children before birth argue that this type of pre-natal care could lead to "designer babies," evoking horrific thoughts of a Nazi Germany-esque society that breeds for specific genes. They argue that laws should be passed prohibiting this kind of eugenics. But if laws are passed to prevent genetic engineering before birth, parents searching for designer babies will simply travel to more permissive natons to have the procedure done. Anyone genetically engineering a child for anything not directly related to fixing critical health problems will simply find a way to circumvent such a law. This is no reason to shut down all the medical benefits that could come from genetic pre-natal care. Those who would truly benefit from this technology should not be made to suffer simply because a minority of individuals would try to take advantage of it.

While in the past, genetic engineering would have been seen as witchcraft or blasphemy, we live in 2014. Our laws for what is acceptable ought to be flexiblein order to accomadate scientific advances. A thousand years ago, it would have been considered immoral, unethical, and illeagal to even think of changing human genes - against nature or religion. But now we have the technology to really help people all over the world. It should not be withheld from them just because of our fears. Any deity that dictates humans should not do everything they can to help each other is cruel and unfeeling.

As human beings, our goal in life should be to do good for others, fulfilling the promise of humanity. Genetic engineering gives us boundless oppurtunities to do exactly that. We cannot let our old-fashioned fears get in the way. Times are changing, and science is advancing. We must not shrink back from this change - we must embrace it as the future of medical technology.

The author's comments:
My English teacher asked us to write about weather genetic engineering hinders or aids the "promise of humanity." We had to define that for ourselves, come up with a stance, and do a debate. I reworked it and decided to post it here. Thoughts? I'm not trying to be offensive or anything, and I welcome oher takes on the topic. :)

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