The Ethical Implications Of The Human Genome Project And Its Parallel Efforts

3349 words - 13 pages

The human genome consists of all the genes that make up the master blue print for building a human being. There are about one hundred thousand genes concealed inside of the nucleus of each cell. The genes are tangled inside of an elongated genetic structure that is called the chromosome. Mapping and eventually decoding the human genome will enable us to provide strategies to diagnose and possibly prevent different genetic diseases, and disorders. Eventually, we may even unravel the mysteries of human embryonic development, as well as gain insights into our evolutionary past. The initial effort in this direction was started by the government under the name of The Human Genome Project, however, it didn't take long for private ventures to take root. Both spectrums of research have been making great strides. However, there has been a great deal of competition between the two, in a time when cooperation is of outmost importance. The availability of prenatal testing, and other genetic screening procedures that are already possible raise important and often controversial issues about the implications of the Human Genome Project and its parallel efforts. Genetics has been compared to the Eugenics movement of the 1920's, which eventually led to Hitler's genocide and concentration camps. Most would agree that this is a far off comparison, but no one is brave enough to deny the fact that genetic information is of extremely sensitive nature, and if misused could be detrimental to our society. It is a general fear that genetic testing will be over used, and will turn our society into a Brave New World, where humans will be genetically engineered to be stronger, faster and smarter; there will be no room for people who lie outside the spectrum of perfection.

Others fear the opposite. This being the excessive control through patenting of genes by private companies which is already leading towards the withholding of valuable information that could be saving lives. There are compromises that can be reached which will satisfy both the private and public ventures. It is important for this effort to be a unanimous one. The implications of genetic knowledge are too important to fight over. It is in everyone's best interest to act together to prevent abuse of this information in order to create the guarantee of better health care for all humans, indiscriminately.

The Human Genome Project: A Government Initiative The Human Genome Project (HGP) is a worldwide effort aimed at analyzing the structure of human DNA and determining the location of the estimated 100,000 human genes, the entire human genome. This effort will study and compare the DNA of other organisms to further our understanding of the human genetic makeup. This unique idea originated shortly after the United States developed and used the atomic bomb. There was a need of information regarding the study of the genome structure, replication, damage, repair and the consequences of genetic...

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