,We Cannot Go Back
It is inevitable, everyone has done it. It is as much a part of the human condition as any of life’s endeavors. As in the poem I Go Back to May 1937 by Sharon Olds; we sometimes explore the idea of altering our fate through changing the past. What if we could change our fate, or even just ensure a better future for your off-spring? Each of us possesses genetic material that is built upon a code that makes every organism unique. The technology to alter our genetic make-up is getting closer by the minute.
I am referring to The Human Genome Project. What is a genome and what is this project you ask? The National Institute of Health or NHI defines a genome as:
A genome ...view middle of the document...
How does this shape our view of gene modification?
One has to wonder about the consequences good and bad from genetic research or gene modification and ethically the question is growing. Somebody has to provide the DNA for the research. Knowing your genetic map makes your health information available. Private information is being shared unknowingly about people’s private medical information. While you may feel compelled to better society by using the genome project to fix genetic mutations, potential employers or insurance companies may discriminate against you based on your genome. Another Ethical argument is informed consent. Each state has its own laws on what is required. There are many questions on this sort of test: the test itself, how it is performed, risks involve, who sees the results, how the results are used, what happens to the specimen after the test, and what circumstances will allow more people to see you results. Who can really say one has been adequately informed? At the most basic levels will we be able to educate the general public fully on the impact of genetic modification? With every new technology, there is a gap between the ones that can afford it and the ones that cannot afford it. Questions like who owns the genetic material after you have provided it. Is there a limit in the amount of time we have rights to our material. A hot-topic in genetic research is cloning, or the practice of using genetic material form one organism to make an exact copy of the organism. Currently one can have their dog cloned (My Friend Again, 2013). Can you trust your relatives, employers, or any nefarious organization won’t try and clone you after your demise? With so many difficult questions, what compels genetic research? It could be said ethically that this science will provide better means of health care and disease prevention. It is a moral obligation to better the lives and health of ourselves, family, and friends. Researchers for THGP do adhere to some guidelines; the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) Research Program was established in 1990. The ELSI is involved in how genetic research is conducted and how the information will used in improving healthcare ethically along with legal and regulatory practices and broader social impacts of THGP. The intentions are well meaning, and the potential of an unethical use of our genetic material is always going to be possibility, humanity hasn’t changed. So what do we do?
With every new advancement and creation, the law needs to be recognized in relation to that event. We are still trying to catch up with the laws surrounding the internet; genetics may be far more difficult to interpret. One of the issues with genetic research is what happens after gene modification. New genes and DNA strains will be created, but who owns them? Current patent laws do not have enough scope to cover naturally occurring things like DNA (Genetics Home Reference, 2013). One of the early principles of...