Genetic Engineering: Consequences of Playing God

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 11th grade May 2007

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Genetic Engineering is a term used to describe the process of manipulating genes outside an organism's natural reproductive process, but what does this entail? While the aim is to introduce new characteristics such as making crops resistant to herbicides, what of other unwanted and unpredicted side effects? Scientists have no more understanding what determines the form and function of organisms than they did a century ago before the term gene was coined (Heaf). While some believe genetic engineering to be beneficial to mankind the fact is genetic engineering is too unethical, hazardous, and unpredictable to be explored.

Some people feel that the use of genetic engineering is the natural next step in evolution, backed by the belief that man has been modifying the genetic make-up of plants and animals through selective breeding for centuries. Genetic engineering could be utilized in plants, making them more resistant to pests, herbicides, viruses and even drought (Milano) or even control dieses-spreading organisms like insects eliminating the genes that create dieses, or making them more resistant.

Farther supporting the idea of genetic engineering is the potential benefits to humans directly: Preplanning a child's traits, curing it of abnormities before birth, or burn victims using genetically engineered skin to improve healing (Walter).

Though genetic engineering seems to have some significant benefits the ethical cost is too high. Genetic engineering research requires the usage of precious and rare stem cells, only available in embryos, which are destroyed after the cells are harvested. (Russo) Many feel that taking stem cells from aborted embryos is unethical, viewing the fetus as they would a fully developed human, and comparing the usage of these stem cells to using dead bodies for research when the people have not consented (Thinkquest). Even more questionable is the idea of making children "made-to-order", defining the...