DNA And Society

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate June 2001

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Through out time man has been driven by the unknown, trying to understand the fundamentals of our existence. Over the past couple of decades we have been able to uncover a substantial amount of knowledge pertaining to the instructions that allow life to continue. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid has been identified in all forms of life. Within the human genome, are the codes for manufacturing proteins, which carry out the necessary tasks to ensure the stability of life. DNA is made up of 3 components; a phosphate group, nitrogenous base, and a five-carbon sugar. Together these components form nucleotides, which in turn are bound together forming segments called genes. A gene is a sequence of base pairs coding for a specific trait or characteristic. Essentially DNA is the blue print for life. Having identified these instructions, scientists are now intrigued by the possibilities of which this new area of research is generating.

Applications of this knowledge range from the simplest forms of cloning, treating hereditary illness as well as biological warfare. The pursuit of this research has raised many questions regarding ethical issues that will play a key role in any further developments. Currently the Federal Bureau of Investigation is developing techniques designed to link criminals to crime scenes. In October of 2000 they unveiled The National DNA Index System, which catalogues every U.S resident's DNA sequence. This will allow authorities across the country to match criminals to crime scenes using remarkably little evidence. Another booming area of this field involves genetic manipulation. Within the next 10 to 20 years scientists predict that through laboratory breakthroughs we will have sufficient knowledge to select desired characteristics to be displayed in our offspring. The applications and issues previously mentioned as well other hot topics of discussion will be covered in greater detail...