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The Ethics Of Human Engineering Essay

1691 words - 7 pages

The debate over whether or not the use of genetic engineering in humans is ethical, has been a highly controversial topic for the past two decades. Genetic engineering can help scientists treat medical ailments, and has been able to save many lives. For example, scientists can test people for early stages of different types of cancer that, had the cancer not have been discovered until the later stages of development, could have potentially killed the patient (Krause 205). Genetic engineering can also be used to help parents with a genetic disease not pass on their deficient DNA to their children (Clapper 7). But, genetic engineering can also have some undesirable consequences. Not only could genetic engineering harm humans physically, but it could also change the way people view other humans. As scientists continue to learn and discover new things about genetic engineering and invent new technology, the boundary that separates ethical from non-ethical uses of genetic manipulation may become blurred. Genetic engineering is ethically wrong because it can cause harm to humans, can change the way parents view their children, and create a eugenic society. While the use of genetic engineering in humans can treat and cure some medical conditions, genetic engineering is a discipline that should remain unexplored.
Even though genetic engineering can help prevent and cure medical diseases, people must also take into account the possible repercussions that it can present. For example, when testing genetic engineering in plants, scientists are able to discard of all the defective plant samples, when doing so with a human being that has been genetically altered would be considered highly unethical (Clapper 8). Humans aren’t just simply lab mice; if scientists try to genetically engineer a human and it fails, that would be a loss of a valuable human life. In 1996, Dolly, a sheep, was the first mammal to be cloned. Although the creation of Dolly was a huge scientific breakthrough, Dolly was the only successful attempt out of two hundred and seventy seven attempts to clone a sheep (Commission 24). If it took two hundred and seventy eight attempts to successfully engineer one sheep, scientists cannot know how many attempts it will take until they can successfully genetically alter a human being. The method that was used to clone Dolly must be perfected before it can be tested on a human being (Hull 19). In an article, Nature Genetics said “To contemplate using our present techniques on humans would be quite inhuman (Nature Genetics 35).”
Genetic engineering can also lead to additional medical problems. In February of 2003, Dolly died of lung cancer and severe arthritis (Badertscher 6). While her particular breed of sheep normally lives to be around twelve years old, Dolly died when she was only six (Badertscher 6). Although scientists can’t tell for sure if Dolly developed lung cancer and arthritis as a result of being a clone, it is highly likely that...

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