The Human Genetic Engineering Debate Essay

2276 words - 9 pages

Science is moving forward at an increasing rate every day. Just in the past decade, there have been numerous new discoveries in astronomy, chemistry, geology, paleontology, and many more scientific fields. However, some of the fastest growing subjects are in the field of biological sciences, more specifically genetics. Over the past twenty years a new genetic science known as genetic engineering has come to prominence. Genetic engineering is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genome using biotechnology, including a human’s genome. As a result, scientists have begun to experiment with altering human traits, known as “designer babies.” In response, many issues have arisen culturally, as perspectives argue whether or not the application of this science is ethical and under what circumstances it should be used, if at all. There are three primary perspectives: One side has the view that this science is a solution to the prevention of genetic diseases and should only be used under such circumstances, the second sees it as an opportunity to pick out desirable traits in children, as well as the prevention of genetic diseases, and the last position is against all acts of genetic engineering, including both the picking of traits and the prevention of genetic diseases. The largest factor when reviewing the different perspectives is whether or not one feels fixing what is naturally occurring, is natural at all. As a result of all three positions, new questions have begun to arise, including how genetic engineering will affect the human race, how the science will be tested and implemented, how the economics of genetic engineering will affect the population, and whether or not it is something that can be controlled.
The overall concern in the debate over human genetic engineering is whether the practice is ethical and safe. However, before dealing with the issues regarding the actual practice of the procedure, almost all people ignore how the actual technology and science would be tested and implemented before using it on society. Dr. Philip M Rosoff, the director of clinical ethics at Duke University Hospital, has considered this issue. He created a “thought experiment” regarding the testing and indicates that the potential dangers of implementing genetic enhancements in humans, especially highly valued traits such as intelligence, would mandate thorough testing on animals, specifically chimpanzees. The tests on them would either show good or bad results, and depending upon those outcomes, the determination of the future of the science will be decided. Hypothetically speaking, if the experiments on increasing the intelligence of the chimpanzees are effective, then we as humans are left with some huge dilemmas. One, we will have to decide whether to continue testing on more apes or not, two, is the continuation of the science ethical, and three, what do we do with these new highly intelligent chimpanzees? Rosoff suggests multiple theories on what to do...

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