This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Ethics Of Gene Therapy Essay

3041 words - 12 pages

The Ethics of Gene Therapy

Francis Crick was quoted as saying, "We used to think that our fate was in our stars. Now we know that, in large measure, our fate is in our genes." Over 40 years ago, James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). From this a new technique has evolved called gene therapy. Gene therapy was discovered in the 1980’s a few years after researchers were already able to isolate specific genes from DNA. These techniques matured from the massive surge of ideas generated during the Recombinant DNA (rDNA) era. Gene therapy is basically the repairing of genes to correct for diseases that result from a loss or change in our genetic material. It is hard to comprehend the total effects of gene therapy, because we do not know if it should really be used? Who does it really benefit? And ultimately people can easily contemplate how it affects him or herself and their family. Therefore, to understand gene therapy some technical aspects need to be discussed.

Technical aspects

DNA is present in the nucleus of cells and is the genetic information of all organisms. The information of a human genome could be thought of in terms as an "encyclopedia", the 23 chromosome pairs would be "chapters", each gene a "sentence", three letter words "codons", which are spelled by each letter a "molecular nucleotide"--adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T) (Elmer-Dewitt, 1994). A gene acts as a blueprint and if these were blueprints for a house and the measurements were off by a foot, it has a huge influence on its total structure. This is the same for our bodies, if a slight alteration in our genetic information occurs like a mutation this could lead to a disease.

Detecting whether an individual has the capacity to develop a specific disease during their life and being able to link the disease to a specific chromosome and ultimately the gene responsible is done by genetic testing. Genetic testing is basically done by cutting a piece of DNA with restriction enzymes and inserting them into a plasmid and finally analyzing the gene. Once a gene is located and defined as the cause of the disease, scientists can then start to develop a plan of action for gene therapy.

There are three sequential steps to gene therapy: first, the partial removal of a patient’s cells, second, the introduction of normal, functional copies of the gene via vectors to replace defective cells in the patient, and finally, the reintroduction of the modified cells into the patient once the genes have been fixed in their vectors (Gardner et al. 1991).

According to Mulligan (1993), transfer of appropriate target cells is the first critical step in gene therapy. Many different methods of accomplishing gene delivery are available such as viral methods like retrovirus, adenovirus, adeno-associated virus, herpes virus, vaccinia virus, polio virus, sindbis and other RNA viruses. Nonviral methods like ligand-DNA...

Find Another Essay On The Ethics of Gene Therapy

The Potential Power of Gene Therapy

1736 words - 7 pages One of the innate qualities that every human poses is the desire to make his or her life better. In our quotidian life, we endeavor to enhance the every aspect of our life ranging from our diet to clothes. This century is deemed to be persuaded greatly by enormous advancement in biotechnology. Biotechnology is a very broad field. It comprises neuroscience, genetic engineering, human cloning and much more. Among all of those fields, gene therapy

Genetic Engineering: The History of Gene Therapy

892 words - 4 pages The History of Gene Therapy In today’s society, the demand for perfection is strong. Imagine the possibility that you could choose the traits your child would possess. As technology increases, eventually humans could be able to create the ‘perfect’ child, with a ‘perfect’ behavior by replacing one gene with another. Vision the possibility that diseased or mutated genes could be replaced, ridding the world of hereditary diseases. In

Priotities of Gene Therapy

2763 words - 11 pages Priotities of Gene Therapy Gene therapy is a relatively new area of medicine that attempts to apply recent advances in molecular biology, genetics and biotechnology to the treatment of human diseases. Gene therapy uses a set of approaches to the treatment of human disease based on the transfer of genetic material (DNA) into an individual. Gene delivery can be achieved either by direct administration of gene-containing viruses or DNA to

Gene Therapy of Embryos

579 words - 2 pages Gene Therapy of EmbryosGene therapy is beneficial. The whole disease can be wiped out from someone's genetics. It can prevent future generations from having that disease. It also makes taking care of offspring a lot easier. It can save and lengthen lives. Gene therapy can also make a difference in a family's wealth and free time. Stress is also another factor. Gene therapy can be a huge stress reliever. It also reduces costs and time spent

The Debate Over Gene Therapy

850 words - 3 pages . (Bersenev,A., 2008). The most controversial problem of gene therapy is the ethics. The first person who was died from gene therapy clinical trials was an 18-year-old volunteer with OTC named Jesse Gelsinger. After the death of Jesse Gelsinger, the ethical problems of the trial procedure have emerged. Firstly, considerable commercial interest in gene therapy creates conflicts between business decision and medical decision. Genovo, which was run by

Gene Therapy to the Rescue

1521 words - 6 pages proteins to be made is also the use of gene therapy. There are two types of gene therapies: somatic and germ-line. In somatic therapies, viruses are used as a vector to put in genetic material into the cells of the body. In germ-line therapies, sperm or egg cells are used (Association). Gene therapy is not just used in medicine, but also used in improving foods and crops too, such as, “the introduction of gene-spliced, pest-resistant cotton

Implications of and Attitudes toward Gene Therapy

2223 words - 9 pages Viewpoints: As gene therapy is very controversial, there are contrasting perspectives on the issue. Proponents of gene therapy are attracted to the idea of providing a cure for a disease, instead of drug therapy and only easing the symptoms. Many can see the potential of gene therapy to become a huge part of medicine in the future of patient treatment. Dr Frederick Hecht says “most gene therapy for diseases such as cystic fibrosis and

Advantages and Disadvantages of Gene Therapy

1623 words - 6 pages Considered one of the more controversial up comings in the world of science, it’s hard to ignore what amazing benefits gene therapy has to offer. With many potential treatments aimed to target some rather serious diseases, much support has been gained for the field. Although gene therapy remains at the forefront of change, much discussion has been created due to several potential drawbacks. These drawbacks, however substantial, must not be

Mechanism of Transfer in Gene Therapy

2068 words - 8 pages Mechanism of Transfer in Gene Therapy Abstract: Gene therapy is the transfer of “normal” genes into the body to replace defective or undesired genes. The transfer may be in somatic or germline cells and may take place in vivo or in vitro. The DNA may be inserted in a retrovirus, adenovirus, adeno-associated virus, herpes simplex virus, or liposome, or it may be naked DNA. The vector travels to a target cell and inserts the gene, which goes

Genetic Engineering: Power of Gene Therapy

807 words - 3 pages The Power of Gene Therapy Each day as our technology advances, we become aware of new diseases and disorders. We also find effective ways to alleviate a number of these problems. In the last decade, gene therapy has been found to treat a portion of life-threatening illnesses such as Cystic Fibrosis, Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID), and Alzheimer's disease. Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease that affects the exogenous

Gene Therapy of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

2118 words - 9 pages Gene Therapy of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Introduction. Leukemia is one of kinds of the blood tumor and which can effect on blood and the bone marrow. This disease is featuring when the white blood cells are increasing unnaturally. There are no a certain age to this disease. The treatment of this disease is dependent on the age of patient and the type of leukemia. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or β- Cell Chronic lymphocytic

Similar Essays

Critique Of 'the Ethics Of Human Gene Therapy' By L Walters And J Gage Palmer

947 words - 4 pages IntroductionThe article 'The Ethics of Human Gene Therapy' by L Walters and J Gage Palmer is a report of the first human gene therapy experiments, and the ethical issues surrounding it. It is an account of the lives of the people -particularly two young girls- who received the therapy and the associated outcomes and impacts it had, both on her and her family's life, and that of the general public.A major part of the article presents seven

The Ethical Controversy Of Gene Therapy

1623 words - 6 pages somatic cells but it will not pass to his off-spring. Thus it doesn’t change the original genetic structure of that individual. Public debate over the ethics of using gene therapy began after the research of the recombinant DNA technology started in 1960. Many felt that somatic cell gene therapy is merely an extension of conventional therapies posing few ethical problems. Some gene therapies introduce novel ways to produce medical which are now

Gene Therapy: The Danger Of Enhancement

3870 words - 15 pages vectors into the bloodstream to seek and bind targeted cells, and the in situ method injects vectors directly into the affected tissue (1995). We currently group types of gene therapy by the nature of the cells which are affected and the goal of the therapy. Nelson Wivel, director of the Office of Recombinant DNA Activities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Georgetown University professor of philosophy and ethics Leroy Walters

The Pros And Cons Of Gene Therapy

2200 words - 9 pages the faulty genes of normal body cells. Germ line therapy is altering genes in gametes. Everyone on earth carries a few defective genes. Most of us are unaware of this fact however, unless we are afflicted with a genetic disease. Approximately one in ten people have, or will develop, a disease that is a direct result of faulty genes. ( The possible future uses for gene therapy are seemingly endless