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The Dangers of Genetic Engineering Essay

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    Genetically manipulating genes to create certain traits in a human embryo is impossible at this point.  Perhaps it will never happen.  It is not inevitable in the long run, as some scientists pragmatically point out. (Embgen).  It is, however, something that dominates modern day discussion concerning genetics and therefore must be addressed with care and consideration.

 

         There are many ways that gene manipulation could come about.  Advances in spermatogenesis as well as the field of assisted reproductive technology, as seen in In Vitro Fertilization clinics, point toward methods that could house the systematic alteration of genetic information in reproductive cells.  Transplantation of sperm stem cells, embryo biopsy, and genetic testing of sperm and eggs are also pathways to future developments.  A process that is under observation is called blastomere separations, where an 8-16 celled embryo is split into four or eight sections of two cells each (Notre Dame).  The largest problem in the attempt to alter genes is finding a vector to insert the gene into the chromatin (Discover, 63).  Some procedures that are successfully occurring today are selective embryo development in IVF clinics, and cytoplasmic transfer, which involves taking cytoplasm from young eggs and placing it into an older egg.  This can be seen as a crude sort of germ line gene transfer, due to the few short-lived genes that can be found in cytoplasm (Discover).  These are all processes which are intended to produce healthy, normal children.

 

         Before discussing anything else, a clear definition of "health" must be specified.  Health is absence of diseases; but more than that, it is the state in which a person flourishes, in...


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     Publishers, Inc., 1997). 

Web Pages: 

1.  Ethics and Genetic Paper: http://www.med.upenn.edu/~bioethic/genetics/articles/3.mcgee.pragmatism.html 

2.  What's Morally Wrong with  Eugenics:  

      http://www.med.upenn.edu/~bioethic/library/papers/art/EugenicsNotreDame.html 

3.  Designer Genes Site: http://www.global2000.net/org/cdhs/mtgsept96.html 

4.  Choices and Challenges: http://www.cis.vt.edu/Choices&Challenges/1992/Transcript92.html 

 

Magazine Articles: 

1.  Dickman, Steven.  "Human Embryos Carrying Altered Genes." New Scientist July, 1997. 

       Found at website: http://matu1.math.auckland.ac.nz/~king/Preprints/book/orsin/fetus/embgen.html 

2.  Henig, Robin M. "Tempting: If you could dictate the content of your kid's genes, wouldn't you? 

       Shouldn't you?"  Discover May, 1998.  Pp. 58-64


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