Genetic enhancement appears to be inevitable since technology is making a rapid turn towards genetic enhancement. Because of this fact, concerns over how beneficial or harmful genetic enhancement would be in the future have arisen. We, as a society, need to analyze both sides and decide for ourselves whether we should support the progression of genetic enhancement or do everything in our power to stall or halt it.
Genetic enhancement refers to the use of genetic engineering to modify a person’s nonpathological human traits. This concept is aimed at improving the quality of life of humans. Baylis and Robert suggest that, using genetic enhancement, a person could make a physical alternation like increasing muscle mass or slowing down the aging process. One could also alter intellectual traits by improving memory or increasing imagination. However, genetic enhancement does not only apply to physical and intellectual traits. Genetic enhancements for psychological and or moral traits are also possible (2004).
At first glance, one might assume that the concept of genetic enhancement is relatively new in our society. As far as we are concerned, genetic enhancement is not occurring. When looking deeper into history, however, contradicting information arises. Consider genetically engineered drug products which are used to alter physical traits as genetic enhancement. The Human Growth Hormone (HGH) can be used as an example. This hormone used to be administered to people who suffered from dwarfism and other similar disabilities. Currently, though, the Human Growth Hormone is being recommended and administered by physicians for nonhormonal-deficient children who are below normal height averages (Hanna, 2006). Baylis and Robert provide an example with the performance enhancement drugs that are used by professional athletes all over the world. These drugs stimulate bone marrow to produce oxygen-rich blood cells, which, in turn, increases the athlete’s performance (2004). Though not exactly on the genetic level, this example shows how enhancement drugs and techniques have been used in the past.
Benefits from genetic enhancements are widespread. These benefits are evident in physical, intellectual, psychological, and even moral enhancements. One of these benefits is undesired inherited conditions which can be eliminated through genetic enhancement. Some parents believe they should have the choice of preventing inherited diseases from being passed on from one generation to the next. Most of these parents also want to make informed reproductive choices without outside pressures (Iredale, Longley, Thomas, & Shaw, 2006). With this physical enhancement, parents could get rid of all the traits they are concerned about and end up with healthy, disease- free children. Baylis and Robert suggest that a physical enhancement that could be considered beneficial is reducing sleep dependence (2004). A procrastinating undergraduate student who needs to study for a final or...