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Research Topic - Essay Example

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1. Introduction It is an indisputable fact that technology has tremendously changed every aspect of human life. The level of faith we have in technology is extremely high, considering that we rely on technology for almost everything, be it navigation, memory, weather forecasts, and even our thinking paradigms…
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Download file to see previous pages Is it reasonable to allow technology to decide whether or not a particular race has the right to live and procreate? Thinking of it from a layman’s perspective, it appears that all of this is unfair. A couple has full right to decide whether or not it wants children, an individual has every right to be employed as long as his or her talents fit the eligibility for employment, a particular race has every right to inhabit the earth as do other races. Simple! Problems arise when these questions are answered from the perspective of an expert geneticist. He or she would think that a couple at risk of giving birth to a child with an untreatable disease should not bear children. A race with a recessive trait for a deadly disease should be monitored and the mating habits of its members should be modulated to avoid the multiplication of individuals with disease traits. This reasoning does not sound unfair at all! The problems become more complicated when these questions are answered from the perspective of a biased individual, especially one who has the power to influence or even make public policies, who may use such excuses to further his own selfish motives such as the discrimination against a particular race. It is at this threshold that technology takes an ugly turn. Genetic screening and its incorporation in public policy is a matter of widespread debate. Some of the ethical issues and controversies associated with this beneficial yet controversial biotechnological application are discussed here. The paper will introduce the technology of genetic screening, its implications and associated public policies. It will then discuss the ethical issues associated with the incorporation of this technology is public policy. The subject of ethics regarding genetic screening as public policy is vast and it is impossible to draft an exhaustive compilation, no matter how big. However, an attempt has been made here to review some of the most sensitive issues on the matter. 2. Genetic Screening – The Technology and Its Implications Consequent to the completion of the Human Genome Project and advances in the field of genetics, researchers have been successful in identifying genes related to diseases. Diagnostic tests have also been developed to detect such genes. These developments have seeded the “idea” that if genetic testing is done, it will be possible for healthy people to prevent future incidence of disease (Holtzmann and Shapiro, 1998). 2.1. Introduction to Genetic Screening and Genetic Testing Genetic testing is the process of detecting mutations in chromosomes and DNA (“Genetic Testing”, 2006). Laboratory analysis of human DNA is performed after isolating it from blood, amniotic fluid and cells in order to predict the risk of a disease, diagnose a specific genetic disease or identify if an individual is carrying a genetic disease. In addition to identifying alterations from DNA, molecular probes and functional biochemical tests are also used to identify defective genes and proteins. This technology has been existent for almost half a century (Rodriguez, 2011). The earliest known application of this technology was for the identification of phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare genetic disease caused by an inborn error in the metabolism, causing the buildup of amino acid in the blood subsequently leading to impaired mental function (Rodriguez, 2011). The application of this technology later on extended to the detection of sickle cell anemia, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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