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Human Genetic Engineering Essay

1640 words - 7 pages

Human genetic engineering can provide humanity with the capability to construct “designer babies” as well as cure multiple hereditary diseases. This can be accomplished by changing a human’s genotype to produce a desired phenotype. The outcome could cure both birth defects and hereditary diseases such as cancer and AIDS. Human genetic engineering can also allow mankind to permanently remove a mutated gene through embryo screening as well as allow parents to choose the desired traits for their children. Negative outcomes of this technology may include the transmission of harmful diseases and the production of genetic mutations. The benefits of human genetic engineering outweigh the risks by providing mankind with cures to multiple deadly diseases.
Human genetic engineering has the capability to transmit usually fatal diseases. Although transmission is highly unlikely, it is one of the risk factors scientists have taken into great consideration. If animal cells or organs are transplanted into humans, zoonotic diseases may be spread. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, Porcine Endogenous Retroviruses, and Nipah Encephalitis are all potentially fatal zoonotic diseases that could be transferred (Glenn). According to Linda MacDonald Glenn, J.D., L.L.M., “The introduction of these diseases to the human population could have devastating consequences” (Glenn). Human genetic engineering may also cause the production of unwanted mutations such as developmental issues. The procedures that would be used for genetically modifying human cells would include numerous alterations to sperm, eggs, stem cells, or embryos before entering a woman’s uterus. This could potentially modify the growth and development of the fetus in ways that have not yet been thoroughly explored (Genetics and Public Policy Center).
Most genes in the human DNA strand carry out many different tasks. Not much is known about the relationships amongst these genes. The order of genes is also an important factor. There is basically no control over where, in the human DNA strand, the newly inserted genes will end up. If genetic surgery is performed on a fetus, there is a high possibility that the egg or sperm cells will also become infected by the foreign gene. This could create the possibility for new genetic diseases to form. If this occurs, it will produce a permanent gene contamination that will be passed on to each of the following generations (Institute of Science, Technology, and Public Policy).
Scientists have recently succeeded in using gene therapy to treat malignant melanoma. Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) are a special type of white blood cells that are produced naturally in the human body. They have been shown to fight aggressively against cancerous tumors. Scientists have found a way to introduce tumor-antigen-targeting receptors into TILs through the process of genetic engineering. This allows the TILs to target the tumor cells and destroy them (Park, Tristen S. Steven A....

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