Gene Manipulation – the controversy

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There has been a lot of controversy regarding genetic engineering and ethics during the past years, so much so that it is sometimes thought to be hampering scientific progress in the field!

The controversy arises mainly from using human stem cells which up to now can only be found in human embryos but there’s also a lot of fear that through genetic engineering, we will have a “Godly” control over humans – we will be able to create custom-made people. We are going against nature!

Oh really!!!
Well I cannot deny that choosing the right genes and turning them on and turning the bad ones off is not how nature works but if you know a bit of evolution, what we are doing is speeding up evolution. Through evolution (survival of the fittest), only the fittest organism survive and in some way, it is the organism that has the right combination of good genes on. Of course if we are not careful we could end up taking the wrong exit on the genetic engineering superhighway and end up with “monstrous” creatures.

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Will that happen? Do you want a sincere answer from me? Yes i do believe it will happen, simply because if it can happen, it will happen but is that a reason to stop all research in genetic engineering? Hell NO! We badly need it – I’ll tell you why but first a small diversion: did we stop making cars coz accidents killed people – we need cars? (Also, did we stop making guns whose sole purpose is to kill people? ) We have to be careful with genetic engineering but we cannot afford to stop it!

Our society is against nature
Consider me: my dad has diabetes and my grandad had parkinson – 2 genetically inherited diseases – which means that I’m most likely going to get them someday. Why am I getting them? Simply because society has allowed people, which nature would have got rid of, to live – nature very savagely gets rid of people it does not see fit to live but we humans get in the way of nature and allow people with diseases to live. I’m not saying: let all sick people die – we’re humans, living in a society and we care for members of our society but we got in the way of nature and we have to accept that.

A catastrophic forecast of this is humans contine spreading their bad genes (genes causing diabetes, heart disease,… ) to thier kids and eventually the human race becomes one that is over dependent on pills and all sort of medication and that from an early age. (Eventually our society crumbles and even Bruce Willis won’t be able to save the world this time!)

How to correct that?
Genetic engineering might be a way. If we manage to switch off the genes that carry some inherited diseases, we might stop getting them and as we know more and more of our human genome, we might, why not, switch on some interesting genes. In a certain way, at some point, I fear that genetic engineering might be the only way out for the human race.

Anyway, we want it or not, science will progress – Eppur si muove (but still it turns)

Again, this post shows only my point of view and it might be inaccurate. Feel free to comment

One response to “Gene Manipulation – the controversy

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