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Should Canada Be Allowed To Ciontinue With Genetic Engineering Without Federal Giudelines?

1262 words - 5 pages

In the past ten years there has been a rise in a relatively new science, a science that raises alot of controversial questions with very few answers. This science is called Genetic Engineering. In it's simplest terms it is the reordering of a genetic DNA sequence. It is a very controversial science because it leads into moral and ethical issues, as to what can be done with it and what cannot.Canada is one of the few countries without nationwide, federally legislated guidelines to deal with genetic engineering and experimenting.Within the last six months (as of this paper being written) there was a baby born in the Calgary hospital with a disease commonly referred to as Boy In The Bubble Disease. The child would have become violently ill within two weeks of It's birth and would have died before it reached one year old. However the parents of this child were told about a highly unprecedented technique that could quite possibly change the baby's future of life or death, they were warned that this method had not been tested on small children, but only laboratory animals. The parents agreed to try it. They allowed Doctor Tom Bowen of the Calgary children's hospital to remove blood from the child 4 hours. after birth, the blood was then promptly flown to Los Angeles California where the blood testing was done and a new gene introduced into the specimen blood. From there the blood was flown back to Calgary and then reintroduced into the child's blood stream. Today child leads the life of an average 6 month old.Dr. Bowen states "We have the potential to do alot of harm, and an incredible amount of good. Let's harness the good, keep some control to it, and get our heads out of the sand."Developments have come a long way since genetic engineering was first discovered. Right now scientists are working on a bacteria that will break down crude oil and could be used to master the giant marine oil slicks caused by tanker accidents. (Taking Sides: Clashing views on controversial bioethical issues, 1989.) Another great thing they can do is the farming of bacteria which can provide medicines such as; insulin, the human growth hormone, the blood clotting agent, and the rarepg.2interferon for immunity. (Taking Sides, 1989)One of the newer things that scientists have been working on only recently is a cure for HIV or the AIDS virus, what basically would be done is, reintroduce the DNA sequence that deals with the immune system. (New York Times,1993)One thing that environmentalists have already tried to stop is, the testing of bacillus causing ice crystals to form on the potato plant : the genetic lowering of it's temperature threshold is to delay the seasonal onset of frost damage, with obvious advantages to agriculture. (TAKING SIDES, 1989.)But what would become of the bacteria and medicine? Would they emancipate from the confines of their task, strike out on their own environmental and mutational careers, and drastically disturb an ecological equilibrium unprepared...

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