The Genetic Engineering Debate

Essay by Dreamfire2003Junior High, 8th gradeA+, April 2003

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Genetic engineering... one of the most debated feats of science. Possibly one of the most useful discoveries... and possibly one of the most dangerous.

But what IS genetic engineering? Scientifically, genetic engineering is the modification of a living being's development.

By taking genes from one living being and adding it to another, the being the genes are added to inherit the traits from the donor being. For example: if the gene controlling an orange's color was added to an apple, the apple might become orange in coloring or take on an orange tint. While this can be useful (adding the growth gene of a fast-growing plant to an agricultural plant might make it grow faster), the side effects of muddling with the natural way of things isn't fully understood yet. There has been some evidence that eating genetically engineered food can cause cancer and mutations in offspring. There is also the possibility that genetically engineered food isn't as nutritious as organic food.

As it is, this debate has been on quite a large scale, with people going both ways. To try and simulate this, I asked 20 people what they thought of genetic engineering, and whether or not they thought it was a good idea. Out of this, 15 of them said no, and 5 said yes.

The people who said no more or less said the same thing: "Genetic engineering is messing with the very basics of life. It's too close to humans trying to play God, and humans are imperfect... there's bound to be mistakes. It's just too dangerous."

The people who said yes also said similar things: "Although it's dangerous, genetic engineering could help end world hunger. What if we could mass-produce food like corn and grain? It would help the hungry world-wide."

While I...