Transforming Our Future: Genetic Engineering and the New Frontier

January 14, 2018

Picture this; the teacher stands earnestly in the front of the classroom as words curtsey around themselves and mandate that the students open the material they will review for that day. Enclosed within, it speaks of sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, and Huntington's Disease, just a fraction of the ailments that lie before them. They read earnestly about a time in which these very diseases took the lives of thousands per year. A time when the possible was thought to be impossible. Because, before they were born, action was taken to protect them through what was to be known as genetic engineering. And in result, their children not only survived, but continued to grow and thrive. 

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, genetic engineering is defined as "The manipulation of DNA to produce new types of organisms, usually by inserting or deleting genes.” This is more beneficial, not only in correlation to the aforementioned examples, but as well as the fact that it could help better our population as a whole. “The use of rDNA allows scientists to produce many products that were available, but only in limited quantities: for example, insulin…”  (Science) This is just one of the many examples in which genetic engineering has been useful to human beings. Due to this practice insulin was founded, which is still a staple in modern day occupations. In food, it has been utilized to feed starving and malnourished children, So the possibilities can only be imagined for the ever changing future.

Now there are speculations on the sensitive topic of genetic engineering when it comes to human beings. These fears being centered on unknown factors. But in response,a correlation can be drawn to earlier times in history. For example, when the internet first came out people had many worries and doubts about it. Protests formed and conspiracy theories compiled quickly. But here we are, many years later and we wouldn’t think twice to question the benefits of the internet and all the great things it has done. This is not to totally demean the negative aspects of the internet, but with any good comes little contingencies that keep anything from perfection. If we continue to reject the idea of research and change we will know no more tomorrow than we do today.

Another example of the positive effects of genetic engineering is the use of it in the production of remedial solutions to common diseases or ailments. “Cystic fibrosis is the most common serious genetic disease in Caucasian children, and it affects about one person in every 2,000 (Independent).” Through this practice milk was produced from Dolly. Dolly was a genetically modified sheep whose milk was made to produce a protein found in human blood. This protein would then help treat 60 patients suffering from inflammation in their bones due to cystic fibrosis. Now if that’s put into perspective, through one sheep, milk was produced that helped benefit 60 of the sickly and suffering. If more research and money were allocated it could lead to even greater things when given the right foundation.

"Genetic Engineering." Science of Everyday Things. 2002. "Genetic Engineering." High Beam Research, 01 Jan. 2002. Web. 23 May 2016.
The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.
"What Is Genetic Engineering?" Union of Concerned Scientists. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.

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