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Human Gentic Engineering - Essay Example

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Human Genetic Engineering Two and a half decades ago, renowned American author and professor Isaac Asimov presaged a monumental scientific breakthrough when he declared that man has reached the stage where “the advance of genetic engineering makes it quite conceivable that we will begin to design our own evolutionary progress” (174)…
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Human Gentic Engineering
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"Human Gentic Engineering"

Download file to see previous pages Holdrege and Talbot encapsulate such two-pronged reaction as an urgent question which necessitates resolution – “whether this remarkable cornucopia presents a picture of health and lawful bounty, or instead the hellish image of nature betrayed” (3). 1. Beginnings of Genetic Engineering The theory of evolution by natural selection advanced by Charles Darwin in 1859 shed light on how organisms adapt and survive in a given environment due to certain beneficial traits which gets passed on to succeeding generations. This was supported by Gregor Mendel’s study on the mechanics of inheriting specific traits among organisms (Yount 119).         Meanwhile, the discovery of DNA structure IN 1953 and replication led to further studies aimed at deciphering the codes that make up DNA. Moreover, studies on recombinant DNA technology have suggested the possibility of transferring DNA from one species into the genome of another, dissimilar organism. Further studies on recombinant DNA technology produced the world’s first transgenic animals and plants in 1985. Four years later, transfer of foreign genes were successfully performed on a human subject (Yount 126). 2. Definition of Important Terminology The conceptual definition of DNA, genetic engineering and genome is provided below for a more enlightened view of the subject matter: DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is defined as the chemical in which inherited information is encoded, stored in molecules consisting of a base pairs adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine in a phosphate-sugar double helix (Yount 159). Genetic engineering is defined as the artificial modification of genetic code with the aim of using genetic information from one organism to benefit another organism. The process involves splicing foreign DNA at specific places and transferring the DNA material into another DNA molecule (Yount 162). The genome is an organism’s complete record of genetic information (Yount 163). 3. Rationale for Genetic Engineering The first argument stems from the purpose of genetic engineering. There is popular support to the position that the purpose of genetic engineering is for the overall benefit of humanity (Nicholl 5; Sanderson 10; Herring 89). Many religious sectors, however share the belief that the purpose of genetic engineering is to enhance the capability of mankind to partake in “God’s work of redemption and creation” and to glorify God (Cole-Turner 51; Merrill 305). Genetic testing on humans can facilitate the identification of diseases which may appear later in life. This application can be helpful in cases where parents need to know if they have passed on a genetic trait to their offspring which may put them in danger once the disease manifests itself (LeVine 49). Hence, human genetic engineering will be a crucial factor for the preservation of mankind in the light of AIDS and other incurable diseases which may be discovered in the future. In this sense, genetic engineering indeed benefits humanity. Cole-Turner, however, contends that when genetic engineering is viewed as a benefit to society, it connotes of humanity as one single entity which can aggregately decide what it needs or what it wants (53). Cole-Turner stresses that since genetic engineering comprises of initiatives and interactions of nations, corporations, researchers, investors and consumers, it serves the interests of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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