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Genetic Engineering: Playing God Essay

687 words - 3 pages


Current technology has made what once seemed impossible, mapping the human genome, a reality within the next decade. What began over forty years ago with the discovery of the basic structure of DNA has evolved into the Human Genome Project. This is a fifteen-year, three billion dollar effort to sequence the entire human genetic code. The Project, under the direction of the U.S. National Institute of Health and the department of Energy is ahead of schedule in mapping what makes up an individual's genetic imprint. Much of the current efforts in genetic engineering have been focused on genes that cause disease and to date, about eight hundred and eighty of these "disease" genes ...view middle of the document...

This has not yet been done successfully. Every new technology is imperfect and the first attempts are likely to reveal hidden flaws. However, a transgenic mistake could lead to a child being born with a new defect, caused by some misstep in the procedure. That defect would then be passed on to future generations.
     Scientific breakthroughs in genetic engineering could not only have harmful physical effects on future generations but also sociological effects. Elimination of "defective" traits decreases a human being's ability to adapt to a changing environment. If global environments were to change drastically in the future, resistance to disease would mean the survival of the human race. Similarly, society may want to eliminate human characteristics labeled as inferior. A particular skin color that is viewed as defect could be deleted. This could result in a human "super-race" that has an inability to adapt to an ever-changing environment. It is a basic law of nature that variation is essential for the survival of a species. The...

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