Often scientific projects become embroiled in controversy. Discuss with reference to fairly recent examples.

Essay by angel_no7 January 2007

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Generally, scientific discoveries lead to controversy. Whatever the invention might be, it is due to ethical values regarding the value to human life. However, science has also positively contributed and favoured such value.

One of the fastest-growing branches of research in medical science is genetic engineering. Its aim is to try to find out our genetic disposition to disease and other physical problems. This is done by testing our DNA. Genetic testing is a scientific area which is giving rise to serious controversies of an ethical nature. For example, lately, a team at the British institute have made genetically engineered chickens that produces cancer drugs in their egg whites. The drugs include a monoclonal antibody, themselves lab-engineered immune system proteins, and a human immune system protein used to treat cancer and other conditions. Some might consider animal testing as ethically wrong.

Another ethical issue surrounding genetic research is whether tests should be carried out on unborn children, in which case decisions are not taken by them.

The child does not belong to the parents but, it is an individual. Prenatal genetic testing may be beneficial by alerting parents and doctors to potential dangers ahead and help them plan treatment where this is desirable and possible. For serious and untreatable disorders however, then maybe abortion might be the resort. The same issue applies also for artificial insemination and 'designer babies'. Lately, a highly controversy concerns the animal-based human stem cell research. This is about creating human stem cells using animal eggs. The process involves injecting an empty cow or rabbit egg with human DNA. That would produce an egg with human genetic material inside, with minute traces of animal genetic material where then stem cells could be extracted. Scientists applied for licenses to do this kind of work to...