The Need For Policy Makers To Regulate Human Genetic Engineering

1449 words - 6 pages

Human genetic engineering (HGE), a prevalent topic for scientists in research, is the process of manipulating genes in the human genome. Potentially, scientists can use the process of HGE to alter many biological and psychological human traits by gene modification. Currently, however, there is a large deficiency in information regarding HGE and its effects to the human body; creating a need for scientists to conduct more research and tests. Because of the many unknowns involving HGE it is necessary for policy makers to regulate HGE for the use by scientists. The first part of this paper will provide an overview of what HGE is and the processes involved with the technology of HGE. This paper will then analyze the potential risks associated with HGE, which include: safety risks and a potential threat to genetic diversity causing a decrease to the human life span. Furthermore, it will argue that these risks are directly linked to the use of HGE for individual benefit. Counter to these claims this paper will also consider the benefits of HGE, which are connected to the use of HGE for the benefit of the collective. The potential benefits include: the manipulation of genes to treat or cure diseases, and the potential increase to the human population life span through an increase in genetic diversity. The last part of the paper will assess the future of HGE and suggest that more research is needed to increase the knowledge of the possibilities of HGE, as well as the types of policies that should be put in effect by policy makers to control the use of HGE. All of these claims will use the support of two reference articles, the first written by Russell Powell, Guy Kahane and Julian Savulescu and the second written by Chris Gyngell. Powell et al.’s article assesses the need for further development of HGE and discusses the risks, benefits, and future potential of HGE. Gyngell’s article analyzes the potential for HGE to increase the human life span, while providing a description of the process of HGE and predicting that HGE may eliminate disease via gene selection. Both of these articles provide credible and informative arguments that illustrate many different aspects of the potential impacts of HGE.
HGE modifies the genomes of humans to produce a specific phenotype (a set of observable characteristics of an organism) or genotype (genetic constitution of an organism) that embodies desirable characteristics [1]. Therefore, HGE differs from archaic processes of selective breeding and artificial selection because it directly alters genes. The main focuses of HGE research are genes that code for immunity, cognitive abilities, and psychological mentality. The use of HGE in gametes and early development embryos is of particular interest to scientists because of its potential to grant them control over heritable traits. This ability can have great impact on the future of evolution because it provides humans with the control of the production of combinations of...

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