Positive and negative effects
As Aristotle once said that its useless to know what is good and not know how to achieve it. But the process of achieving what is good may have its positive and negative effects. We shall try to examine the positive and negative sides of human genetic engineering.
Human genetic engineering as explained by Wikipedia “. . . is the alteration of an individual’s genotype with the aim of choosing the phenotype of a newborn or changing the existing phenotype of a child or adult”. The alteration help in attaining various characteristics that the scientists desire since the genes determine the characteristics of an organism.
Positive results are what everyone wants after accomplishing any work or research. The genetic engineering has led scientists researching on cures of the most deadly diseases that were incurable. According disabled and health world news genetic engineering can be used to develop cures for diseases such as aids and cancers which cause a threat to the world.
Many people have been infected by the deadly disease Aids allover the world. Though there have been fruitless attempts by various scientists to develop a cure for this deadly disease, genetic engineering could be used to alter the DNA strand of the virus which could act as a cure to the disease. There are diseases that are already under control through the use of this technology. Antibiotics and viruses have developed which kill and reduce the effects of virus causing diseases.
Apart from the threats caused by the disease, many poor countries are faced with food insecurity. This has been caused changes in the climate which have adversely affected the food production in these countries. Genetically modified food could be a source of hope to counter the effects of climatic changes. Scientists develop new genes for different types of food that can be able to withstand harsh climatic conditions. The new seeds developed are also able to resist diseases.
Many analysts consider GMO (genetically modified food) as the only hope for this poor countries. Taking into account that some are located in the desert, they need to plant crops that are capable of withstanding the dry conditions. In addition to being situated in this areas low rainfall areas, they do luck proper storage facilities for their produce. This causes a need to have food crop that are able to stay for a long period. The GMOs will in future assist the poor countries in offering them food security.
There has been a need to have food products that are contain all the essential food particles –starch, proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins – together. The body will then get all its requirement as a balanced diet by taking one food type. The ingredients of the food could also be changed to provide necessary requirements of the body.
With the diseases being controlled and improved food security and quality, our health will be well taken care of. There will be minimal deaths due to diseases which may impact positively to our economic. Healthy people are more productive as opposed to unhealthy once hence increased productivity. Furthermore the dependency ratio will also reduce.
Another benefit is that people who are capable of having the resources can children with character traits they desire. Many parents have being faced with the challenge of raising their children with different characters. Its always a wish by the parent to have children with specific physical appearance which are not necessarily like theirs.
This can only be obtained through human genetic engineering by altering the DNA of the genes’ of parents obtained form the sperms. Though it may be costly, people have control of the offspring they get. For instance a parent could decide that they want a child who is tall probably six and a half feet, with growth occurring from birth to age 10. Others would wish for a child whose cells do not age fast.
Other people cause a risk of passing genetic illness to the young ones. Such diseases include anemia diabetes, glaucoma, and optic atrophy among others. If children are born the normal way they might acquire these diseases from their parents. Its therefore important to find a better way that will eliminate the possibility of the young ones obtaining disorders from their parents and genetic engineering is the way to go. A couple may be unable to conceive due to infertility. The option could be to have a genetically produced child give it to the couple.
The positive facts on genetic engineering may suggest that we fully accept this technology and fail to see the negative effects that come along. The greatest fear we should have is to develop things and organisms blindly without caution. Many of the incurable diseases have evolved due to changes in DNA organization in the genes (center for inquiry, August 2007, 4). As genetic engineering is the change alteration in organization of the gene, it may cause more adverse effects than its benefits.
New diseases that may be incurable may evolve causing more threats than the present ones. New bacteria may be developed to breed with another one in order to reduce its effects but the new organism may cause more problems than the current or change it happened when “The same virus vector had been used safely in thousands . . . the researchers didn’t fully understand what had gone wrong” ( Marshall, 1999, p.2244). It would then be difficult to come up with a remedy or develop a new antibiotic to kill the bacteria.
Another thing to consider is religion. According to our various religions, we believe that God is capable of controlling human beings. The bible and the Quran consider God to be the only creator of all the earthly things that breathe and move. By “making” human beings by use of human knowledge and technology developed by him we contradict the religion of which most of us are part of. It may be difficult to convince people to accept this, rendering it useless.
Very few people will understand the need to use genetic engineering. Furthermore the children who will “made” will be considered as outcasts in the communities. Discrimination will be evident as the ‘new’ human beings are rejected by other members of the community. Our culture and tradition too does not agree with this. Though we always adapt to new changes and developments this may to be hard thing to accept.
It will be disadvantageous to the poor as this technology will be expensive to afford. Only the rich will be able afford as the cost of maintaining and conserving the genome and the genetic engineering will be high. If the scientists decide to develop the young ones for sale, there will be increased orphans in the orphanage homes. This will be an extra burden to the homes and also an increase in the dependency ratio.
If the homes are unable to sustain them, the children may end up in the streets causing a threat to security and increase in beggars. In some cases the children may have uncontrolled behavior by acting differently from other human beings. In such cases it would only be better to eliminate them. For example if they turn to man eaters it would be good to kill them. It’s therefore no need to bring something into existence and then eliminate. This will be wastage of resources and time.
The genetically modified food could also have side effects to the body. They may be sources of long term side effects or sources of dreadful diseases like cancer. People will also desist from consumption of natural food products which are important to their body. The natural foods contribute to the sustenance of the environment. By the use GMOs the environment will be at risk of degradation in all aspects and be a source of many infections though bacteria and virus. These viruses and bacteria may be uncontrollable.
The various benefits and setbacks outlined in the thesis explain both sides of the genetic engineering. On my side I do support it considering the many challenges are facing globally. There are many dreadful diseases that only through research scientific testing can we be able to find a solution and medicine to treat them.
The various changes in the nature of micro organisms that cause diseases are due to changes in the environment. Ignoring research and innovations will only worsen the situation as we have no control of the environment. Climatic changes are unpredictable meaning food production is being affected in various parts of the world causing the need to have the new forms of food to sustain human beings. There is also need to understand that many couples are in need of children and it would be bad for the sick ones to give birth to children who are sick too. The benefits far outweigh the setbacks where the effects of the later can be controlled by improvement in research.
We need to appreciate that research and innovation is part of us if we want to be diverse in everything we do. We need to face the challenges that we come across by finding solutions to our own problems. Genetic engineering is one of the many ways in which we can find the solutions though we need consider all the possible effects of our innovations. Before we fully accept this we need to plan ahead and minimize the effects that emerge a tend to make ineffective.