Genetics Report

Over the past several years Genetics has become a leading link to understanding how our body works. By mapping out deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, scientists plan to find cures for various diseases, develop better, more efficient drugs, grow new organs, evaluate environment hazards, and eventually build a human being. Inside of every single cell in our bodies there are 46 chromosomes that are made up of DNA. Half of your chromosomes are inherited from each parent, DNA is strung along the chromosomes. DNA is the living instructional manual found in all living organisms.

The building block letters of DNA are Adenine, (A), Thymine, (T), Cytosine, C), and Guanine, (G). These are repeated over and over again about 3 billion times in our body alone. DNA can be subdivided into genes, with each gene carrying the information on how to produce a unique protein. Each gene consists of three of the building blocks placed together. Along the stretches of DNA, genes tend to occur in clusters, like cities separated by vast emptiness. When the DNA is collected all together you have a genome.

In the past scientists believed that there was more than 100,000 genes in the human genome, but recent studies by Celera Genomics and many other scientist based eams, have found that the number of genes to be 35,000. (Article #1) This new found information has made some biologists ecstatic and has wounded the pride of others. There are many people who are bothered by the fact that they dont seem to have (many) more than twice as many genes as a fruit fly, said Eric Lander, director of the Whitehead Institute Center for Genome Research.

It seems to be some kind of affront to human dignity. The 30,000 genes in our body compared to the 13,600 in the fruit fly does seem to raise questions about why we have the abilities to do so much more when we dont ave that many more genes in our genome. Even though all creatures share the same DNA code, some people still believe that there is a step-change between the rest of nature and humans that separates us from them.

The Human Genome Project, starting in the 1980s, is a research program designed to construct a detailed genetic and physical map of the human genome, determine the complete sequence of human DNA, localize 30,000 to 35,000 genes, and perform similar analysis on the genomes of several other organisms. Every species has its own genome. Every individual animal within a species has its very own specific genome. Unless you are an identical twin your genome is different from everyone on earth – and from everyone who has ever lived.

Even though you have your own distinct genome, it is still recognizable as a human genome. Analyzing the human genome will give us insights into why people like the foods they do, why certain people die of heart disease and others of cancer, and why some people are outgoing and others are paralyzed by shyness. We will also be able to know what body shape your children will have, the number of calories they are able to burn off in rest, and the types of sports they will excel at and enjoy. Studying the genome can related to a number of things, you can study the whole genome, or only a small part.

You can study the sequence, or function of a specific gene. We are able to observe what happens when something goes wrong with a gene, and how it affects our life and body. Certain diseases are cause by mutations in a particular gene such as Blindness, cancers, bowl disorders, Leprosy, arthritis, Turners syndrome, Down Syndrome, and many other types of diseases. These genetic diseases are caused by changes (mutations) in the DNA sequence of a gene or a set of genes. This can happen at ny given time, from when we are a single cell to when we are close to 100 or older.

Some scientists believe that there are specific disorders genes that cause the disease, but it is a mutation that causes the normal genes to operate improperly. So to clarify all the mishap it is better to say that there are mutated genes that cause genetic disorders. In some diseases such as Down Syndrome and Turners Syndrome, entire chromosomes, or large segments of them, are missing, duplicated, or otherwise altered. Single-Gene disorders result when a mutation causes the product of a single gene to be altered or missing.

Sickle-cell Anemia is an example of this type of disorder. Mutations in the beta-globin gene cause the blood cells to become distorted and take on a sickle shape. This makes traveling through the blood vessels hard and they begin to clog in the narrow passages, causing various problems within the body depending on where the clog is at. Multifactorial disorders result from mutations in multiple genes, often coupled with environmental causes. The complicated bases of these diseases make them strenuous to study and treat.

Some examples of this type of disorder are heart disorders, diabetes, and cancers. Certain kinds of thyroid cancers are accumulated by malfunctioning genes, such as Familial papillary thyroid cancer, and Medullary thyroid cancer (Article #5). Cancer is caused by certain changes in our DNA sequence. But cancer is not developed by one mutated gene, its the accumulation of many defected genes. This can happen through inheritance of mutations or addition of new mutations during the life span of an organism.

Additions of new mutations can come from exposure to the sun, UV rays, infection by certain viruses, spontaneous mutations and changes in copying the DNA during the aging process. The genetic basis of cancer is possible by the cancerous cell dividing at inappropriate times. This could mean that the cells either do not receive the signal to stop dividing or they do not require outside signals to start dividing, so they divide when they feel like it. When cancerous cells come in contact with other neighboring cells they do not stop dividing like normal cells do, but they pile up and form a tumor.

Cancerous cells also have the ability to invade healthy tissue, leading to the spread of cancer throughout the body. Scientists were able to pin down the exact gene that is responsible for prompting eoples internal wake-up alarms. A mutation in this gene can cause the person to wake up at very inappropriate times and causes them to become tried in the middle of the afternoon. The mutation was found in the human Per2 gene on Chromosome 2. This is common to many people the statistics show 1 in every 10,000 all the way up to 1 in every 100,000 people.

There are a large quantity of people that dont realize that it is a disorder so they never come in for treatment (Article #3) Colourblindness is another of the many generic disorders. It is found in the X chromosomes which is passed down from the female, never the male. If a woman with the gene that entitles Colourblindness has a girl, the X chromosome of the baby will cancel out the colourblind chromosome (X) a majority of the time. There is a slim chance that when the X chromosome of the baby is weak the colourblind X will prevail and the girl will be born colourblind.

Females are the only carriers of this generic trait, very rarely does a female get the trait. If that same woman were to have a boy, the X chromosome will predominate the Y chromosome and the boy will indefinitely be colourblind. The ratios of this disease are very different for men and women, 1 in 12 for men, and 1 in 250 for omen. Inherited genetic mutations arise about twice as often in men as in women (Article #6) Scientists have found that a retinal gene appears to be responsible for at least some of the cases of macular degeneration, or blindness.

The gene, which plays a role in the metabolization of a fatty acid called DHA, has become defective and does not perform its assignment accordingly. This suggests that people with the defected genes may have trouble using the fatty acid in normal cell mechanisms. This leads to the deterioration of the macula, a central part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision. The loss of this ision limits what a person can do, such as driving which is no longer acceptable, they have trouble reading, and they lose all peripheral vision. This defective gene is past down from generation to generation.

To help cut back on the problems that can be caused by eating foods that are high in DHA, such as salmon, shellfish, eggs, tuna, liver, and many more (Article #2) The entire genetic sequence of the disease labeled Leprosy has been deciphered. This shows that with genetic sequencing of different organisms, such as the Leprosy Bacterium, is extremely helpful in finding new, efficient treatments and drugs. In the case f Leprosy it also help scientists to calculate how to grow the bacterium in a laboratory which was impossible up to now (Article #8).

Ankylosing Spondylitus, or spinal arthritis is also formed from gene mutation. The gene attacks the spine making it rigid as a poker, the extreme case, to just not allowing to move easily, the moderate case. With learning how the gene is able to make this happen we will be able to treat this, and maybe even cure it (Article #7). Other disorders are not caused by malfunctioning genes or abnormal chromosomes, but certain viruses can infect a gene and that gene will multiply with that nfections written in it. AIDS is a worthy example of this type of disorder or disease.

AIDS is cause by an infection with the HIV virus. The HIV virus infects an organism incorporating its own DNA into the chromosomes of the infected cell. When this cell divides, the viral DNA is inherited by all the daughter cells of the infected cell. So in a way the infected cell now has a genetic disorder, caused by the introduction of a new DNA into its chromosomes. The viral DNA will not transfer onto the next generation because the sperm and egg cells of the organism are not daughters of the infected cell. Scientists have recently been able to manipulate a skin cell to turn into heart tissue.

This can be radically helpful in the production of islet cells that produce insulin needed for diabetes. The scientists turned the clock back on the skin cells to produce stem cells, which have the ability to develop into any desired type of cell, from nerve to liver to muscle. Then they manipulate the stem cell to become a heart tissue. This could be a breakthrough for diabetic people, eliminating the daily insulin shots, and making live just a little it easier (Article #18). Tests with possible cures are been research continually, such as with tobacco plants that contain a human gene.

The gene interleukin10 can be massed produced to help treat bowl disorders. Using genes from other living organisms are growing more common in science (Article #4). To stop the wide shortage of organ transplants needed, scientists have started researching humanized pig organs. The birth of a litter of genetically modified pigs have started this research. Each of the pigs has a marker gene introduced into its genetic code. This produces a knock-out pig, where scientists will knock out the gene that leads o the human immune system.

This will eliminate the rejection of the pigs organs when placed in the human body. The process is called Xenotransplants, and it could start in as little as 4 years (Article #19) In the same sense scientists have been able to turn a plants leaves into petals, allowing nurseries to produce plants that bear flowers where leaves were. This is possible by five genes that are manipulated, either by traditional breeding, or by genetic engineering. Breeders will be able to make colourful double flowers in which stamens and leaves grow into petals and enhance the fragrance.

This not only could help the nurseries but the drug industry as well, by allowing them to grow greater quantities of therapeutic chemicals that come from flowers (Article #17). Additional traits can be discovered by sequencing the genes. Not only will scientists be able to see whether or not you have a fatal disease, but they will be able to envision what type of body type your child will have, what kind food they will have a taste for and whether they will be outgoing or paralyzed with fear about leaving the house. There are innumerable amount of traits that we will be able to see when we look at a ersons genes.

What kind of sports they will like, whether they will be overweight or underweight, how many calories they burn at rest, and whether they are a psychopathic killer (Article #9). We will be able to know ahead of time what kind of lives our children will lead, in some ways this is a good thing because it will prepare us for what type of parenting we have to do. But in other ways if we find out what likes and dislike our child will have we will have the choice, if we want this child or not, this exact thought raises many questions about the morality of genetic sequencing.

Scientists have just encountered the gene that controls the height of humans also governs life and death, meaning that short people are genetically programmed to live longer than tall people. Using Nematobe C. Elegan, worm-like creatures, scientists eliminated these genes and the result is either mutant giant, or dwarf worms. They discovered that the genes that were knock out which produce growth hormones, also influence life expectancy. The lower levels of growth hormones, the longer the life expectancy.

Even though it was only tested on C. Elegans, human have the same nsulin-based growth system, so it applied to humans as well (Articles #20,25). A discovery has been made that there is a gene that explains why moderate drinking can prevent heart attacks. This gene, or variants of it, makes the body break down alcohol very slowly which raises the levels of heart-protecting good cholesterol in the blood. Drinkers with this gene were found to have a sharply lower risks of heart attacks than those that dispense alcohol at a faster rate.

The gene produces enzymes called alcohol dehydrogenase that breaks down alcohol. The gene either breaks down the alcohol uickly or slowly. You inherit one of the genes from each parent, so you can have two fast genes, two slow genes, or one of each. Those who have two slow genes and average one drink a day have a 85% less risk of a heart attack than those who have two fast genes and hardly drink. With conditions such as obesity, overdose of alcohol, smoking, and a history of heart illness the risk was still 35% lower (Article #16).

Jurrassic Park the movie directed by Steve Speilberg, based on a book by Michael Crichton, has raised many questions about the correctness of taking DNA found in fossils and decoding it. Geologists right now are extracting the DNA from prehistoric bugs stomach. If the chance that the DNA turns out to be belonging to a dinosaur they want to decoded it and possibly clone a dinosaur. Cloning is made from a single adult cell joined with an egg cell, the genes of which have been removed, so all the geologists need from the DNA of a dinosaur is the adult cell, and an egg cell.

If the geologists decide not to clone the dinosaurs then they will use the DNA to find out a little more about dinosaurs and the environment in which they lived (Article #10). Apart from just studying the DNA and sequencing the genes, the knowledge of the DNA can be used in fighting crimes. Any type of body fluid and cells can be used to find out who was present at the scene of a crime. Evidence such as sperm, blood, pubic hair, skin cells, and saliva can be taken into a lab and studied to find out who exactly it belongs to. This is accomplished by searching a computer from a DNA Databank.

A DNA Databank keeps records on the DNA of everyone they possibly can, for use in such situations as a crime scene investigation. Once the investigators have a list of possible people that are suspected, they now go and get a swabbing of the inside of their mouths or further testing. People have rejected this, calling it an invasion of privacy. They believe that if employers were to be able to have access to the DNA Databank they would know all about their employee including diseases or disorders, characteristics and traits.

Meaning that if your employers looks at your DNA and finds that you have a history of heart disease in your genes and they believe that you are not fit for the job they can fire you on that account. This is a downfall of keeping DNA files on hand, they can be used against people, not just to help them (Articles #11,12,13,14,15) Scientists have not just been mapping the code of human and animals, but of plants as well. They have been able to genetically modify plants to help them survive longer and produce better food, flowers, or fragrance depending on what they want enhanced.

Genetically Modified foods have become more common in recent years. It was mostly grains that have been engineered with genes from non-grain species that make the plants resist insects or tolerate pesticides. So a farmer can spray his crops with a pesticide and have it kill everything in its field except his harvest. There are some problems with this, uch as allergies in humans. Scientists have yet to figure out whether or not people can develop allergies towards GMOs, but some people dont want to take the chance.

The pesticide resistant plants could jump to wild plants, creating super-weeds or could harm valuable insects by making their food unfit to eat, such as the Monarch butterfly. The Genetically Modified Atlantic and Pacific salmon are growing faster than normal salmon, if the super-salmon were to escape from the production plantations, they could mate with normal salmon and corrupt their whole genetic pool. There is also problems with patent enetically modified plants, if a person suspects that his neighbor was stealing his super-seeds, the only way to prove hes not is to spray his field.

If the crop dies then he is not stealing the crops, but he lost all that years harvest. If the crop lives, then the company can sue the neighbor. So you can see that there is a number of problems that could arise with releasing the GMOs. Some Health officials dont agree with Genetically Modified foods, claiming that it is unhealthy and dangerous to humans and the environment, if not properly controlled. Right now in Canada they are looking for better ways to control GMOs and the sale of them.

Officials believe that their will be a lot of problems with GMOs and how people will react to them being on the shelf, they think that there will be destruction of fields and food products just like the reaction in Europe last year. (Articles #21,22,24) After figuring out the genome of humans there is still Protenome, a complete listing of the 250,000 or so proteins that the 35,000 genes are capable of making. Proteins can vary in health and disease, and the long chains of amino acids do not string out but curl up on themselves in complex 3D shapes, making it indefinitely harder to break the ode.

Most of biology happens at the protein level, not the DNA level, Dr. Craig Venter of Celera Genomics points out. Scientists not only have to figure out what the listing of proteins is but how they change in disease and how they fold. This is dubbed the Greatest unsolved problem in biology. (Article #27) As you can see there is still a long way to go in finding out everything there is to know about Genetics. But when we do find out everything about Genetics and the human body, there is nothing left to the imagination, and a part of that will be sorely missed.

Gene Therapy

In research facilities all around the world scientist are attempting to stop diseases at their very roots. Instead of trying to find drugs to cure illnesses they are trying to change the genes that cause the diseases. The process by which this is done is called gene therapy. Gene therapy is the deliberate alteration of the human genome for alleviation of disease. The studies of gene therapy began in the mid 1980’s to early 1990’s. The focus then was “treating diseases caused by such single-gene defects as hemophilia, Duchene’s muscular dystrophy, and sickle-cell anemia.

As time passed new technologies, techniques, strategies and ideas for transferring genes have been presented. William French Anderson, Michael Blaise, and Ken Culver performed the first successful gene therapy on a human in 1990. They developed a protocol for treating Adenosine deaminase (ADA) deficiency, a severe combined immune deficiency, also known as the “Boy in the Bubble disease. ” ADA deficiency is a result of inheriting two copies of the defective ADA gene. Possession of a normal gene leads to the continuous, regular production of ADA in cells throughout the body.

Without at least one properly functioning gene, children have no way of converting deoxyadenosine (a waste product) into inosine. This leads to the rapid build-up of deoxyadenosine in the system, which becomes phosphorlyzed into a toxic triphosphate, which kills T-cells. The result is an almost complete failure of the immune system and early death. Previous treatment options included bone marrow transplants, which worked well with matched donors. A major breakthrough occurred with the development of polyethylene glycol coated ADA (PEG-ADA).

This treatment introduces coated ADA into the blood stream, although not into the cells. It requires expensive, painful shots on a weekly basis, but it succeeded in giving children with ADA deficiency a new lease on life. While their immune systems were far from normal, PEG-ADA allows some semblance of a normal life and a much-increased life span. The first patient to undergo federally approved gene therapy was a young girl named Ashanti DeSilva, in 1990. Ashanti’s success immediately sparked a torrent of gene therapy investment and research. There are two main types of gene therapy.

There is somatic gene therapy, which encompasses all of the cells of the body excluding sperm and egg cells. The second type is germline gene therapy. The difference between the two is that changes made in somatic gene therapy are not passed on to offspring, whereas in germline gene therapy the changes are passed onto the next generation. Not much research is being done in germline gene therapy because of technical and ethical reasons. The first step of gene therapy is to find the location of the problem gene or genes. DNA probes are used to find the problem DNA.

The technique relies upon the fact that complimentary pieces of DNA stick together. “5 The Human Genome Project is helping to piece together the location of all of the human genome. The U. S. Human Genome Project began officially in 1990 as a $3-billion, 15-year program to find the estimated 80,000 human genes and determine the sequence of the 3 billion DNA building blocks that underlie all of human biology and its diversity. The early phase of the Human Genome Project was characterized by efforts to create the biological, instrumentation, and computing resources necessary for efficient production-scale DNA sequencing.

The first 5-year plan was revised in 1993 due to remarkable technological progress, and the second plan projected goals through 1998. Observers have predicted that the 21st century will be the “biology century. ” The analytical power arising from the reference DNA sequences of several entire genomes and other genomic resources is anticipated to help jump-start the new millennium. The HGP’s continued emphasis is on obtaining a complete and highly accurate reference sequence (1 error in 10,000 bases) that is largely continuous across each human chromosome.

Scientists believe that knowing this sequence is critically important for understanding human biology and for applications to other fields. The next step to gene therapy is to find a vehicle to transport the new genes. This is done through the use of vectors. A vector is a DNA molecule into which a DNA fragment can be cloned and which can replicate in a suitable host organism. The majority of vectors used today are attenuated or modified viruses. “The modified viruses can not replicate in the patient but do retain the ability to efficiently deliver genetic material.

There are two main modes used to deliver the genes of interest to the patient: non-viral and viral delivery vectors have been used. Both of them have advantages, but also a not-so-short list of disadvantages. “Non-viral vectors represent basically the approach of direct injection of the genetic material (the DNA) into the tissue. This is very straight forward, methodically not very difficult and has proven good results in animal experiments for a transient (non-stable) expression of these genes. However, it is difficult to precisely locate the area of action and the efficiency is not very good.

To increase efficiency, the DNA is added to substances (e. g. polylysine) that allow the genes to cross cell membranes. But still, the expression is transient and injections have to be performed repeatedly to maintain a constant expression level. Viral vectors can be split in different groups: retroviral vectors, lentiviral vectors, and adenoviral vectors. A few more are under investigation. The principle of all these vectors is the packaging of the DNA into the viral capsule by replacing part (or all) of the viral genes.

By removing the crucial viral genes, the viruses also loose their pathogenic effect. After the manipulation of the viral genome, the virus will be used to deliver the genetic material by viral infection to the target cell. Retroviruses have a limitation because they are unable to infect non-dividing cells. This drawback was circumvented by the so-called ex-vivo gene therapy. In this procedure, cells are removed from the target tissue and grown in vitro. During this period the virus is added and the cells become infected. Subsequently, the cells are transplanted back to the target tissue.

Lentiviruses are a special type of retroviruses; the most prominent member is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). These viruses are able to infect non-dividing cells and can therefore be used for in vivo gene therapy. Results so far are promising, the system offers a targeted delivery and stable expression of the transgene (the genetic material that is delivered). Adenoviruses can infect both dividing and non-dividing cells. One major difference to the retroviruses is that the genetic material delivered by adenoviruses does not integrate into the host genome.

This resolves the problem of random integration at places that might be crucial for gene regulation or in the coding region of genes the target cells use as it is seen in retroviral vector systems. This is of some concern because it can lead to activation of oncogenes or the inactivation of tumor suppressor genes that ultimately leads to cancer. The disadvantage of the adenoviral vectors is the fact that the host is producing an immune response. This kills the infected cells and leads to the production of antibodies preventing a subsequent infection by the same virus.

But this system nevertheless is useful in situation where treatment for a short period of time is required, e. g. for fighting off cancer cells. ” Vectors like these can be found in places like the National Gene Vector Laboratories. There are currently three NGVL’s. They are located at the University of Michigan, University of Indiana, and University of Pennsylvania. The National Institute of Health funds the laboratories. The goal of the laboratories is to, “provide eligible investigators with clinical grade vectors for gene therapy applications.

The National Gene Vector laboratory at University of Michigan produces non-viral vectors for use in gene therapy phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. The National Gene Vector Laboratory at the Institute of Human Gene Therapy, University of Pennsylvania produces adenoviral vectors. The National Gene Vector Laboratory at Indiana University produces retroviral vectors, and is the coordinating center for the NGVL. Gene therapy solutions are currently being sought for diseases such as prostate cancer, cystic fibrosis, Parkinson’s disease and, retinitis pigmentosa. “Physicians perform gene therapy using an ex vivo or in vivo approach.

The most popular ex vivo way to deliver genes is through a retrovirus vector that targets rapidly dividing cells, such as cancer cells. Scientist start with a disarmed mouse-derived retrovirus, spiking it with therapeutic genes and injecting the modified virus into a patient. But ex vivo therapy is complicated and costly. Most researchers agree that as gene therapy evolves, in vivo use will emerge. Right now, the most publicized in vivo approach is the use of an adenovirus vector to shuttle a missing chloride ion-processing gene into the mucus-filled lungs of cystic fibrosis patients.

Although this method has yet to work, researchers say they are making significant progress. Producing effective viral vectors is tricky. They often generate poor gene expression, forcing researchers to administer repeat doses, which are expensive and can irritate tissue. ” 6 In 1989, the cystic fibrosis gene was isolated on chromosome 7. Current work focuses on the safe, efficient delivery of a functional cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance gene to patients who are afflicted with cystic fibrosis and the expression of the gene in somatic cells to correct the genetic defect and restore chloride channel function.

It is hoped that successful gene therapy will be a feasible and cost-efficient approach that will lead to a cure. Following the cloning of the cystic fibrosis (CF) gene, in vitro studies rapidly established the feasibility of gene therapy for this disease. Unlike ex vivo approaches that have been utilized for other genetic diseases such as adenosine deaminase deficiency, gene therapy for CF will likely require direct in vivo delivery of gene transfer vectors to the airways of patients with CF.

Hence, major research efforts have been directed at the development of efficient gene transfer vectors that are safe for use in human subjects. Several vectors have now emerged from the laboratory for evaluation in clinical safety and efficacy trials in the United States and in the United Kingdom. Adenovirus-mediated gene transfer has been utilized for initial clinical safety and efficacy trials in the United States, while liposome-mediated gene transfer has been chosen for initial clinical safety and efficacy trials in the United Kingdom.

The rationale and laboratory studies are reviewed leading to initial clinical safety and efficacy trials. Also reviewed are the currently available vectors for potential use in clinical studies, their advantages and disadvantages, and the promises and pitfalls of current gene therapy efforts for CF in the United States focusing on adenovirus vectors in current clinical trials. Although the incidence and mortality rates of prostate cancer have decreased slightly in the past few years, prostate cancer remains a major health threat to American men.

This disease remains the most commonly diagnosed internal malignancy in men and the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. Biologically, prostate cancer represents a heterogeneous disease entity that exhibits varying degrees of aggressiveness, patterns of metastasis, and response to therapy. Universal agreement has not been reached as to the best treatment for prostate cancer at any stage. Radical prostatectomy, external-beam radiation therapy, brachytherapy, and cryotherapy can affect local tumor control and are potentially curative in patients with clinically localized disease.

In spite of the widespread use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in early detection and screening, many cases are not diagnosed until the disease has advanced or metastasized beyond the reach of these local treatment modalities. Hormonal therapy and chemotherapy are the only systemic treatments available at the present time. Unfortunately, progressive disease develops in many patients who undergo these treatments, thus proving them to be noncurative. Gene therapy has emerged as an exciting new treatment that may affect both local and systemic control of prostate cancer.

With respect to cancer, the goal of gene therapy is to prevent or treat disease by using the therapeutic information encoded in the DNA sequences. Evidence suggests that tumor formation is caused by the overexpression of oncogenes or by mutations in suppressor genes in the presence or absence of cancer-causing environmental events. The future of gene therapy approaches to prostate cancer or other cancers will depend on further development of vector systems at the basic science level as well as a better understanding of the genes involved in tumor induction and proliferation.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic degenerative neurologic condition affecting control of voluntary movement. The disease is most commonly treated with pharmaceutical products containing L-dopa and then in more advanced cases, with neurosurgical procedures. Cell Genesys, Inc. announced that company scientists have demonstrated long term production of L-dopa, a drug currently used to treat Parkinson’s disease, following just a single gene therapy treatment in Parkinson’s disease animal models.

An adeno-associated viral (AAV) gene delivery system was used to deliver human genes responsible for the production of L-dopa to the appropriate region of the brain, resulting in stable production of the enzyme responsible for L-dopa synthesis for one year, the duration of the study. “The potential for gene therapy to provide long term correction of Parkinson’s disease after just a single injection may represent a new approach to treating this disease. We have used AAV vectors to deliver genes to several types of tissue including brain, muscle, liver and cardiovascular tissues, and have observed long term gene expression in each.

This broad applicability allows for a wide variety of potential disease targets including hemophilia, cardiovascular disorders and neurologic disorders. “12 Cell Genesys scientists utilized AAV vectors to deliver two human genes to the specific area of the brain affected by Parkinson’s disease in Parkinson’s disease rat models. Following gene transfer, the chemical synthesis of L-dopa was demonstrated and the expression of the L-dopa producing enzyme was stable for one year, the duration of the study. There were no observable toxicities after treatment, and importantly, there were no other regions of the brain affected by the gene delivery.

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Cornell University reported that a genetic defect is responsible for progressive rod-cone degeneration (PRCD) in dogs. PRCD is known to cause blindness in at least four breeds of dogs: Portuguese water dogs, Labrador retrievers, poodles, and cocker spaniels. It is possible that many other breeds may also be affected. If so, PRCD would be caused by a relatively old mutation in the evolutionary history of dogs. PRCD starts with the deterioration of the retina and results in blindness. PRCD seems to be the dog version of retinitis pigmentosa.

RP17 appears to be the closest human equivalent. Prior to this study, the general scientific consensus was that a link between the two was unlikely. Since the study, scientists now believe that both diseases come from similar mutations to the underlying gene. Scientists hope that by identifying the gene responsible for PRCD, a diagnostic test could be developed for the disease in dogs and, eventually, in humans. Further treatment options could be developed using gene therapy techniques. Scientists would insert the normal gene into a vector.

The vector would then be injected into the organism in the hope that the normal gene would slow the genesis of the disease or even reverse its effects in the diseased cells. New gene therapy techniques are discovered everyday. Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania and ARIAD Pharmaceuticals have discovered a “molecular rheostat. “4 Researchers stripped two AAV’s of their viral genes and reloaded them with the gene for erythroprotein(Epo). Epo is a gene that stimulates red blood cell production and is used to treat anemia. It had been previously showed that Epo could be “switched on” by the drug rapamycin.

In mice and monkeys, rapamycin stimulated a rise in production of Epo and red blood cells. Conversely, when they stopped administering the drug Epo production was shut down. Epo was chosen because it action can easily be measured red blood cell counts. “The ability to achieve dosage control of a drug in the context of gene therapy is going to be critical to making a number of new treatments possibleMany of the proteins we would like to produce in the body using gene therapy are quite potent and can have side effects so being able to carefully adjust their levels within a therapeutic window is going to be key.

With the ever-increasing knowledge on gene therapy, many ethical and moral concerns have risen. Society as a whole shows both concern and apprehension on this contemporary issue. Many argue that the morality of gene therapy is misguided, mainly because of the effort private companies and the NIH are doing to have certain DNA sequences patented. With the research going into decoding the human genome, there is an unusual demand for the patenting of useless DNA sequences, undermining the sole purpose of patents.

Should DNA sequences should be patented at all or be treated as merchandise? Patenting any kind of DNA sequences is just like patenting life itself, and from history we know that the ownership of any human being is wrong. DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid sequences in an individual can thus be considered analogous to a piece of property. Another question about gene therapy involves every person’s right to true genetic inheritance instead of artificially manipulated ones. To many radicals, germ-line therapy serves essentially as an open door for another Hitler wanting a superhuman race.

Probably one of the largest debates over gene therapy has to deal with the use of fetal tissue to treat diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Today, over 1. 5 million Americans suffer from Parkinson’s disease, which impairing speech, crippling gait, and eventually immobilizing the entire body, all because of the degeneration of a tiny portion in the brain called the substantia nigra. Some scientists are now using electively aborted six- to eight-week old fetal tissue obtained from abortion clinics in order to insert new brain tissue into the dying region of the brain.

Obviously, ethical concerns have been raised while inviting more controversy such as the abortion issue. Such therapy, however, has improved the well being of the patients. There are many other concerns dealing with gene therapy. For instance, once gene therapy has taken effect it cannot be stopped or in other words, it is irreversible. Unlike drugs, you can’t stop producing genes. In addition, the mixed results in delivering genes have raised some concern.

Some scientists fear, with retroviruses and their ability to introduce new genes in between other genes in the body, that the turning on of oncogenes will occur, causing cancer. In addition, retroviruses consist of RNA and only affect dividing cells; still, they may become dangerous if combined with other versions or helper viruses. Finally, although retroviruses are disabled from reproducing, they still posses potential problems because when they insert a new gene between an existing gene, they inevitably knock out the structural code for a protein.

Adenoviruses, like those associated with the common cold, are aimed for treatment of cystic fibrosis; yet, they may inflame “DNA containing mucus,” causing pneumonia, and even go through the rest of the body and into sex cells. 14 Furthermore, the lungs may not produce enough of the needed protein to correct cystic fibrosis and if the scientists try repeating the process, there might even be an immune response, making matters worse.

There is enormous money making potential in the future of gene therapy. It is estimated that by the year 2000 there will be at least 10 cancer gene therapies and that the gene therapy market will top $2 billion. “Over the past five years, estimated Michael Murphy, editor of the California Technology Stock Letter, companies have spent about $250 million on gene therapy research and development. When a product gets approved, he says the payoff in the annual sales will probably be ten times that. “6

With the current technological advances and world wide research efforts, the goal of eliminating all human disease through gene therapy may one day be possible. Worldwide about 200 clinical trials are currently carried out. Looking at the tremendous potential this technique offers, and considering the promising results obtained in animal experiments, chances are good that gene therapy will become standard practice soon. In summary, gene therapy far surpasses the power of vaccines and drugs, since it provides a means of eliminating, instead of alleviating, diseases or ailments.

The engineering of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)

The engineering of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is entirely new, yet genetics, as a field of science, has fascinated mankind for over 2,000 years. Man has always tried to bend nature around his will through selective breeding and other forms of practical genetics. Today, scientists have a greater understanding of genetics and its role in living organisms. Unfortunately, some people are trying to stop further studies in genetics, but the research being conducted today will serve to better mankind tomorrow.

Among many benefits of genetic ngineering are the several cures being developed for presently incurable diseases. Genetics has also opened the door way to biological solutions for world problems, as well as aid for body malfunctions. Genetic engineering is a fundamental tool for leading the world of medicine into the future; therefore, it is crucial to continue research in this field. Today’s research in genetic engineering is bringing about new methods for curing and treating major medical illnesses. The Human Genome Project has allowed geneticists to map the genes of human beings.

This project is far from complete, s the DNA sequence of humans is extremely long, yet it will eventually show geneticists which genes are responsible for certain inherited diseases. Identified genes could be repaired, resulting in the irradiation of inherited diseases, such as cancer. Just last year, the locations of genes for several diseases were confirmed and may soon be correctable. Secondly, research in genetics has brought about a new medical field, genetic counseling. Couples planning to have children can visit a genetic counselor and identify what medical difficulties their child may have.

With continued research in genetics, couples will have the opportunity to become aware of a greater number of medical conditions that may affect their child and can make the proper adjustments needed in advance. Lastly, and perhaps the most important advancement in the curing and treating of illnesses, geneticists are developing a new method for removing viruses from human bodiesDNA scissors. This new method works in a similar way that antibiotics does. When antibodies enter our internal system they attack a specific type of enemy cell or virus and destroy it.

Likewise, DNA scissors enter the body and attack a specific type of enemy virus or cell. DNA scissors are much more effective than conventional antibiotics because they enter the enemy cell and unravel their DNA. With dysfunctional DNA, a cell is a pile of lipids and proteins; cancerous tumors will turn to harmless dumps of organic material, that can be filtered out by the body. DNA scissors will affect things that antibiotics cannot, like AIDS. (Not even AIDS can function without DNA). One day the only thing that will stand between medical diseases and their cure will be the analysis of their DNA.

Genetics now offers a new way to solve the general problems of the world. First, genetic research makes it possible for food to be grown safer, better, and faster, without doing any damage to the environment. With today’s knowledge of genetic engineering, several food companies are investigating possibilities of making more food in less time. Through a process know as gene therapy, geneticists have the ability to modify parts of genetic material in organisms. Geneticists can add attributes to crops, like tomatoes, that would make them resistant to insects.

With such features, dangerous chemicals like DDT that harm the environment, plants, animals, and humans would not be needed. Other enhancements would include prolonged life spans for food products after harvesting. For example, tomatoes have been engineered to last longer so they do not have to be harvested early. Thus, it is unnecessary to spray chemicals on them to prematurely change their color. While the US has not yet approved the new crops, several countries have and are making great profits off them.

Finally, through a proccess known as gene splicing, geneticists are able to cross ifferent organisms and therefore breed beneficial life forms. The Supreme Court ruled that scientists can patent newly created life forms, so several companies have invested in genetic research. General Electric provided the funding for a team of geneticists to create a new life form; the result was oil eating bacteria. The bacteria consume oil and are of no threat to the environment, so far. A major use for the bacteria is to clean shores after an oil spill.

It is impossible to clean every drop of oil on the shoreline, so the bacteria are released to remove any traces of oil tediously and perfectly. General Electric is in the process of obtaining , or already has obtained a patent for the bacteria. It is quite clear that genetics will have an active role in our quest for solving world problems. Genetic Engineering makes it possible to treat and correct bodily malfunctions. First, the use of genetics allows us to produce supplements for those who have chemical deficiencies. The most well-known example of such a supplement is insulin.

In the 1800’s, diabetics received insulin from sheep, yet as it can be imagined, it took a great deal of sheep to sustain one person. After the discovery of DNA, geneticists used gene splicing to develop a bacterium to produce insulin. By cloning the human gene for insulin and inserting it into bacteria known as E. coli, the scientists created bacteria that produced insulin and when the bacteria reproduced, they reproduced the human gene as well. Next, genetic engineering will make it possible to create vital organs for transplants. A major medical difficulty today is the lack of organ donors.

Waiting lists are always getting longer, and people are losing their lives as a result. In the future, geneticists would be able to clone pieces of organs and, then, make organs for surgeries involving transplants. Geneticists may even be able to clone cells from damaged organs and then engineer exact duplicates. Genetics will definitely have a large impact on correcting of malfunctions in the human body. Without doubt, genetic engineering has already helped make human life easier and will continue to do so in the future, provided that research on genetic engineering continues.

All advancements in science have led to positive and egative results, yet, the rewards of genetics greatly outweigh the disadvantages. Mankind is entering a new era in medicinegenetic engineeringone that has received criticism. As the field of genetics inevitably becomes integrated with medical practice, people may continue to protest against what they believe genetic engineering will unleash on our society. Rather than allowing fear and ignorance to derail one of the most humane efforts underway, scientists and the society must find bridges of communication and understanding, through education, to promote the benefits of genetic engineering.

What is the Human Genome Project

The Human Genome Project (HGP) is an international research program designed to construct detailed genetic and physical maps of the human genome, to determine the complete nucleotide sequence of human DNA, to localize the estimated 80,000 genes within the human genome, and to perform similar analyses on the genomes of several other organisms used extensively in research laboratories as model systems.

This project is estimated to take 15 years to complete from October 1990 and has already cost the U. S. 2. 5 billion dollars. The scientific products of the HGP will comprise a resource of etailed information about the structure, organization and function of human DNA, information that is the basic set of inherited instructions for the development and functioning of a human being. What is the overall goal of the Project? In September, advisory committees at DOE and NIH approved new 5-year goals aimed at completing the Human Genome Project two years earlier than originally planned in 1990.

The new plan, published in the October 23, 1998 issue of Science, covers fiscal years 1999-2003 and calls for generating a “working draft” of the human genome DNA sequence by 2001 and obtaining he complete and highly accurate reference sequence by 2003. A new goal focuses on identifying regions of the human genome that differ from person to person. Although the vast majority of our DNA sequences are the same, scientists estimate that humans are 99. 9% identical genetically.

These DNA sequence variations can have a major impact on how our bodies respond to disease, environmental insults, such as bacteria, viruses, toxins, drugs and other therapies. Other major goals outlined in the plan include exploring the functions of human genes using methods that include comparing human DNA equences with those from organisms such as the laboratory mouse and yeast. Then they must address the ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding genetic tools and data, develop the computational capability to collect, store, and analyze DNA.

If successful, the completion of the human DNA sequence in 2003 will be the 50th anniversary of Watson and Crick’s description of the fundamental structure of DNA. Already revolutionizing biology, genome research provides a vital thrust to the increasing productivity and pervasiveness of the life sciences. Current and potential applications of genome research address national needs in molecular medicine, waste control and environmental cleanup, biotechnology, energy sources, and risk assessment.

Scientific Processes Chromosomes, which range in size from 50 million to 250 million bases are broken into very short pieces. Each short piece is used as a template to generate a set of fragments that differ in length from each other by a single base (template preparation and sequencing reaction steps). Now the fragments in a set are separated by gel electrophoresis. Then fluorescent dyes allow separation of all four fragments in a single lane on the gel. The final base at the end of each fragment is identified (base calling step).

This process recreates the original sequence of As, Ts, Cs, and Gs for each short piece generated in the first step. Current electrophoresis limits are about 500-700 bases sequenced per read. Automated sequences analyze the resulting electropherograms and the result is a four-color chromatogram showing peaks that represent each of the 4 DNA bases. After the bases are read by a computer, another computer is used to assemble the hort sequences in blocks of about 500 bases each, called the read length into long continuous stretches that are analyzed for errors, gene-coding regions, and other characteristics.

Finished sequence is submitted to public sequence databases, such as GenBank. Now The Human Genome Project sequence data is made free to anyone around the world who would like to view it. Benefits of the completed Project This project will be a great jump in understanding human genes which will provide us with many answers we would like to know, and many that we haven’t thought about yet. Genome maps of other organisms will provided so we can compare them to the human genome and let us compare and understand other biological systems.

Information generated and technologies developed will revolutionize future biological explorations. Genes involved in various genetic diseases will be found, and further studies will lead to an understanding of how those genes contribute to genetic diseases. Among these diseases will be the genes involved in cancer. Medical practices will be altered when new clinical technologies based on DNA diagnostics are combined with information coming from genome maps.

Researchers will be able to identify individuals predisposed to particular diseases and come up with therapeutic practices based on new classes of drugs, immunotherapy techniques, avoidance of environmental conditions that may trigger disease, and possible replacement of defective genes through gene therapy. Another benefit will come from understanding genetic similarities between mammals and humans. There isn’t that much difference between human biology and cattle or mouse biology.

What we learn about human genetics will help us to raise healthier, more productive, disease-resistant farm animals that ight, through wise and careful genetic engineering, produce drugs of value to us. Technologies, databases, and biological resources developed in genome research will have an enormous impact on a wide variety of biotechnology-related industries in such fields as agriculture, energy production, waste control, and environmental cleanup. The potential for commercial development presents U. S. industry with a great deal of wealth and opportunities from sales of biotechnology products.

The Criticism With all the benefits people tend to forget about a lot the things that could hurt our way of life by uncovering this nformation. This new information could be used to take biological warfare to a new level that is incomprehensible. It could also create a form of genetic racism that could separate countries and states. There are some less serious but still very important legal and social and ethical issues that will also need to be addressed. One of the major ethical issues is if we will allow this technology to be used to genetically engineer a so called “Super Race”.

In my opinion I don’t think messing human nature in this way is a good idea at all. It could cause less genetic diversity which makes humans what hey are. There’s also the big picture of over population and how it could ruin our planet. Nature has to take it’s course even with this technology unless we can figure out how to make other planets inhabitable for humans. Genetic Information Discovered So Far According to the Genome Database (GDB), the public repository for human genome mapping information, over 7600 genes had been mapped to particular chromosomes in January 1999.

Tens of thousands of human gene fragments have been identified as expressed sequence tags (EST’s). These are lso being assigned to positions on chromosome maps The physical mapping goal is to establish a marker every 100,000 bases across each chromosome (about 30,000 markers). The most complete map yet was published in summer 1997 and featured about 8000 landmarks, which provided about twice the resolution of previous maps. Similarly detailed maps have been produced for a few individual chromosomes, but this map offers landmarks across the entire human genome that are also positioned relative to each other.

Currently an estimated 5% of the human genome has actually been sequence. My Opinion In my opinion I believe that the information found by the Human Genome Project is going to be a useful tool for our future, and well worth the billions of dollars it is costing us. But there will need to be laws made to protect it from being misused. It should be used to cure diseases by gene therapy and to better our lives with this technology. It shouldn’t be used to make a “Super Breed” of humans or cloning. The information should also be banned from being used in the military. If this information is not used improperly I believe it will better our lives.

The Positive And Negative Effects of DNA Profiling

Genetic engineering has developed and blossomed at a frightening rate in the last decade. Originating as merely an area of interest for scientists, genetic engineering has now become an area of which all people should be somewhat knowledgeable. DNA profiling has many uses, both positive and negative, in our society. Aside from its usefulness in many legal investigations, DNA profiling can be used in the workplace to discriminate against employees whose profiles could pose a financial risk.

For example, genetic technology can and has been used to determine the capacity of a person to contract certain diseases, such as sickle- ell anemia, which could cause many employers to hesitate in the hiring and training of such people. In the early 1970’s, the United States began a carrier screening for sickle-cell anemia, which affects 1 in 400 African-Americans. Many of those identified as carriers mistakenly thought they were afflicted with this debilitating disease. Furthermore, confidentiality was often breached, and in some cases, carriers were discriminated against and denied health insurance.

Nevertheless, genetic profiling has been beneficial in paternity suits and rape cases, where the father or the assailant could be identified. However, despite its growing number of utilizations, DNA profiling is extremely hazardous when results are inaccurate or used to discriminate. The frequency of genetic testing in criminal investigations (more than 1,000 in the U. S. since 1987) has been increasing dramatically despite the inconclusive testing by the scientific community in many aspects of forensic identification.

A correlation between DNA patterns taken from a crime scene and taken from the suspect has often been enough to charge a person with the offense in spite of proof that some procedures for testing DNA are fallible by legal and scientific standards. The complexity of scientific evidence, especially DNA profiling, has also caused many problems within the legal profession. It is no longer enough for attorneys or members of the jury to merely be knowledgeable about the law. People need to familiarize themselves with today’s scientific research rather than relying on the credentials of a scientific expert witness.

Too often, jury members become in awe of the complicated, scientific terms used in court and take a scientist’s testimony as fact. Lawyers need to increase their scientific knowledge and keep up with ongoing research in order to competently question and nderstand scientific evidence put forth. But these do not represent the only possible downfalls of DNA profiling in criminology. The involuntary seizure of one’s blood or hair undermines the constitutional rights guaranteed to all citizens by the Fourth Amendment (protection from unreasonable searches and seizures).

Nevertheless, many argue that a DNA sample taken from a suspect could lead to an indictment or release of the individual and, thus, warrants an exception from the Fourth Amendment. Besides, one could make a plausible argument that, once held in custody, the eizure of a person’s strand of hair does not violate a suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights or rights of privacy because the hair is visible. However, the use of DNA profiling does not end in criminal investigations. DNA testing has ventured out of the courtroom in an effort to show a genetic link between race and violent tendencies.

If successful, this link will do nothing but justify prejudice attitudes toward minorities, particularly the black race. Furthermore, such biological approaches towards criminality do not take into account sociological factors, such as poverty, and ould inevitably lead to the practice of controlling minority children with the use of therapeutic drugs or worse. For this and other reasons, courts of all levels must implement harsher scrutiny in the area of genetic profiling and its uses. There is also a current effort to create a national database of DNA, much like the existing database of fingerprints.

Supposedly, the use of numerical codes will allow huge databases to search for a match of a individual DNA band. However, these matches are not 100 percent. This inconclusive correlation between DNA patterns has led to a heated debate which has culminated n federal court with Daubert vs. Merrel Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. The ruling in the Daubert case said that the acceptance by the scientific community is not enough by itself to allow certain scientific techniques into court as evidence, especially given the reality that a suspects entire future could hang in the balance of a scientific finding.

Many people have argued that the use of a national DNA database infringes on the individuals constitutional rights to privacy. However, law officials have claimed that the advantages this database presents for society supercede the individual’s rights. This dilemma can easily be associated to the “social contract” presented by Thomas Hobbes. In this contract, Hobbes believed that each individual should give up certain individual rights in order to achieve protection from the whole. The forfeit of the right to privacy of one’s DNA can thus be considered one of these forfeited rights.

A person must weigh the advantages of having a past, present, or future criminal’s DNA profile on database with the disadvantages of having one’s own. But the disadvantages will outweigh the advantages when private institutions develop access to this atabase and use the information for discriminatory purposes. The impending usage of a national DNA database poses many possible risks of political and commercial abuse of such information, along with the danger this information falling into the hands of unfriendly parties, are unpredictable.

Such unpredictability, certainly, is a violation of people’s rights to privacy. For instance, if a private institution, such as a bank, an employer, or an insurance company, receives access to this information, it could influence decisions on loans, hiring practices, insurance rates, etc. Society, then, is faced with a conflict between an individual’s right to privacy in one’s genetic composition and the employer’s or insurance company’s interest in knowing about a person’s health problems. This conflict will constitute the remainder of this paper.

Over the next ten to fifteen years, scientists involved in the federal government’s “human genome project” will try to identify in detail each of the human cell’s estimated 100,000genes. The knowledge derived from the project will enable physicians to detect an increasing number of diseases and predispositions for diseases. When Frank married at age 31, he decided to take out a life insurance policy. A swimmer and avid racquetball player with no previous hospitalizations, he felt certain his low premiums would be a worthy investment for his family.

Weeks later, after a routine physical exam, he was shocked by the insurance company’s response. Sophisticated DNA testing had revealed in Frank’s tissues a single missing copy of a so-called RB antioncogene and minor variations in two other genes. Computer analysis showed the molecular misprints more than tripled his risk of getting small-cell lung cancer by age 55. His application was rejected. With the newfound ability to reveal an individual’s molecular secrets come significant new possibilities for discrimination.

The medical records of people who apply for insurance are stored by the Medical Information Bureau, a data bank shared by a consortium of hundreds of insurers. Ethicists warn that genetic tests could tempt insurers to discriminate against the “healthy ill;” people who are not yet sick but who carry genetic traits predisposing them to future illness, such as in Frank’s case. However, these people may not be denied health insurance totally. Rather, they may be guaranteed a basic level of treatment and rationed out of more costly procedures.

For example, someone who carried the cystic fibrosis gene, even if asymptomatic, could be denied a lung transplant. The competitive nature of the industry may compel insurance companies to use genetic information, since the fundamental principle of the insurance business is “pooling uncertainty. ” The concept of adverse selection also causes insurers much dismay. Adverse selection refers to the probability that people privately aware of a medical problem are more likely to seek medical insurance.

This negates the insurers policy of setting premiums with accordance to statistical information on the rates of illnesses and sicknesses in society. “The whole foundation of insurance is based on the fact that we and the insurance applicant are operating with equal levels of knowledge and ignorance. ” Without this level of ignorance, insurance companies will lose their social value as a means of spreading risk across groups of people. Genetic engineering with respect to insurance does not stop here. Further development could lead to a complete knowledge of who will develop a disease and when.

This will drastically effect the practicality of life insurance policies. “I can see 20 or 30 years from now that life insurance policies will be essentially accident policies, because everything else will be foreseeable. The essence of insurance is you assess a risk against the unknown; if there’s no medical unknown, the only unknown is whether you’re going to get hit by a bus. ” Another striking danger of insurance companies discriminating with respect to a person’s DNA profile is with infants. The companies may become extremely hesitant in insuring babies who have a high susceptibility to certain iseases.

In fact there have been some cases where the insurers actually demanded the parents to abort the fetus or risk losing insurance. This obviously constitutes a blatant violation of people’s rights. Plus, it dangerously causes the insurance companies to begin to play the role of God, that is, in deciding who should live and who should not. “By agreeing to pay for some infants and not for others, insurance companies could inadvertently practice a form of economic eugenics, based not on grand designs for a superrace but on who requires the least expensive medical care.

Perhaps, some form of national health insurance is the only remedy for these problems. “Genetic testing may provide the best reason yet for a nationalized health-care policy. ” But insurance companies are not the only private entities with the potential to discriminate against people with unfavorable genetic profiles. Employers, too, have a substantial financial risk in hiring an employee with an above average propensity for illness or early death. Ellen spent four years completing her PhD in industrial and chemical engineering.

Now, wincing as a company octor drew a few drops of blood for her preemployment physical, she could hardly contain her excitement about the job she’d been offered at one of the country’s foremost metallurgical research institutes. Two days later the phone call came. You are perfectly healthy, the young doctor said. But tests have revealed you harbor a gene that can result in decreased levels of a blood enzyme, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. Without the enzyme’s protection, you have a slightly increased risk of developing a red blood cell disease if you come into contact with certain chemicals in our laboratory.

I’m sorry, he said. The job has been offered to someone else. As Ellen’s case shows, the danger of discrimination certainly does not end with health insurance. There is also a grave danger of discriminatory hiring practices in the workplace. In 1989, Jonathan Beckwith, a geneticist at Harvard, and Dr. Paul Billings, director of the division of genetic medicine at Pacific Presbyterian Hospital in San Francisco, completed a small-scale study of genetic discrimination.

Of 55 responses, Billings and Beckwith could document 29 people who reported multiple instances of discrimination by adoption agencies, mployers and insurers. And the percentages will only get worse as more and more companies implement genetic screening policies. In a survey of 400 U. S. firms conducted in 1990, 15 percent of companies responded that by the year 2000, they planned to check the health status of not only their prospective employees, but their dependents as well before making a job offer.

These statistics show all too well the impending problem with genetic discrimination in the workplace. Employers will have a number of potential justifications for genetic testing in the workplace. In some cases, there may be an argument in favor of testing for public health reasons. Fortunately, judges and juries have predicted these justifications and have began to make the necessary rulings to ensure true justification for discrimination.

The relevant judicial opinions indicate that there will have to be a significant or reasonable likelihood of harm to others from having the individual employed. Hopefully, rulings such as these will serve their purpose in protecting the right of all citizens. With the balance of interests laid out (individuals concerned about onfidentiality and discrimination, and insurers and employers concerned about adverse selection and fiscal liability), it will fall upon legislators and the courts to define the proper use of genetic information.

Policy makers will have to confront an apparent discrepancy between the reality of genetic variability and the democratic ideal that all citizens are “created equal. ” The information itself is not the problem. What matters is how the knowledge is used. Scientific advancements are not to blame. “What science does is give society opportunities. What we have to do is look at these opportunities and then set p the constraints and the rules that will allow society to benefit in appropriate ways. Without the proper constraints, the price of glimpsing one’s medical future is high indeed. DNA profiling can be an extremely beneficial tool in the war against crime. However, when used for discriminatory purposes, this tool becomes a crime in itself. The ability to compare and contrast a person’s genetic code with another should not be taken lightly, for with this great knowledge comes great responsibility. If not used wisely, this ability of the few… will develop into a disability for the many.

Conning For Survival

It all started back in the fifties when James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA (DSouza NA). Ever since there has been talk of human and animal cloning. It all seemed out of reach and basically impossible, but in 1997 that all changed when a sheep, named Dolly, was the first ever mammal to be cloned. She was cloned for the purpose of curing disease and research on animal organs for human transplantation (Schaeffer 3). Now that scientists know that it is possible to clone literally anything with DNA, the world has become a rather scary place.

This raises the question: Why is it unnatural to clone humans and animals? Many people say that religion is the underlining factor and god should be the only one with the right to create life. I believe in fate and Mother Nature more so then I do god. I believe that the whole world is mapped out and that we all have a time to live and die. The natural world is a wonderful and powerful environment that I feel would crumble if we began to allow people to take over the remote, so to speak. Personally, I liked the way that things were going until the human race started using technology to change the natural course of fate.

Now look at our world, we are slowly destroying it with over population and these people feel the need to synthetically populate it with this new breed of test tube life. Today they are trying to apply the technique of cloning to different aspects of science and medical problems. Saving endangered species, for example, or allowing infertile parents to have a child of their own. Although these might seem like good ideas, a deeper investigation is really needed here. In early January of this year, Noah, an endangered species of the humpbacked wild guar was born to an ordinary farm cow named Bessie.

The scientists thought they had solved the problem of saving endangered animals, but unfortunately Noah died just two days after his birth from a bacteria infection. These scientists are playing the role of Mother Nature. A cow should only carry her own offspring, not that of an entirely different species. Imagine the confusion of these surrogate mother animals when their baby is unnaturally theirs. Its not only a tragedy that this young guar had to die, but think about all of the trial runs and fetuses that were aborted or put to sleep because of physical or mental deformities.

The subject of animal cloning has provoked debate about the ethics of interfering with nature as well as about the danger of using laboratory means to accomplish what habitat preservation and other conservation measures cannot (Gugliotta A3). Now there is talk that they are going to start cloning animals that have been extinct from ten to thousands of years ago. Scientists are contemplating the possibility of cloning a 20,000-year-old woolly mammoth from a block of ice in northern Siberia and are planning to use an elephant for it is surrogate mother (Gugliotta A3).

This is just crazy, I dont think that I need to remind every one of the movie Jurassic Park. Do we want to move into a world of genetically engineered animals? I definitely do not; these animals became extinct for a reason and who are we to say that it is time for them to roam to earth again? Another type of cloning that is now being investigated is the use of biotechnology to help infertile couples have children. Even Ian Wilmut, the scientist who cloned Dolly and has come out publicly against human cloning, was not trying to help sheep have genetically related children(Thomas 47).

This technique to impregnate infertile couples is basically the same that they are using on the animals. First an egg is removed from a woman and all of its genetics are then stripped. Then the cells from the donor are injected and stimulated by an electrical charge. As a result of this, the cells divide and create embryos. This procedure would only clone the donor cells not the stripped egg. So if people were to do this they would basically be left with a baby that is a replica of one of the parents, or whom ever the donor cell belonged to. This raises the question: would the embryo be the parents child or sibling?

People are also thinking about using this technique to bring loved ones back from the dead (Thomas 50). I do not know how people can even consider cloning their dead mother and then carrying her around in their womb. This all seems like a sick and twisted sci-fi movie, if you ask me. Its not what happens to the parents that disturbs me; it is what happens to the child. Imagine growing up being an exact replica of one of your parents. What a burden for those children, to know that their parents were striving to re-create themselves or someone deceased(McGraw 66).

What will I look like when I am forty? That question will never have to cross the childs mind, all they will have to do is look at the parent they were cloned from or a picture of the person they were supposed to be. We also must think about all of the experimenting that needs to be done in order to make each pregnancy work. Just like Noah, the guar, numerous fetuses were discarded until the right one could be made. It is not ethical to kill so many potential lives of infants to create the one that the parents are striving for.

Our fierce national debate over issues like abortion and euthanasia will seem tame and transparent compared with the questions that human cloning raises (Thomas 48). Although my viewpoint is strictly against cloning, many people believe that it is good idea. The San Diego Zoo geneticist, Oliver Ryder, states that animal cloning will have a great impact on helping to preserve genetic variation. He believes that this technique will add new individuals to the dwindling gene pools of endangered species and help preserve wild life (Gugliotta A3).

When in fact, cloning would divert scarce resources from programs like training rangers or preserving natural habitats. The cost of creating one cloned life could cost up to 15,000 dollars (Begley 59). Some people say that it is worth it and that we need to do what we can to help preserve, and in some cases bring back these animals. Would we really be bringing them back for the better? Most of these animals are becoming extinct, or have been extinct, because their natural habitat is disappearing. The few number of animals that would be cloned, would merely become museum pieces… hanging only in zoos around the world.

What a life for these poor animals, to be resurrected and then kept in a cage (Begley 59). Various people even think that human cloning, or fertility cloning, is a good idea for couples who can not have children. They argue, Why does the law allow people more freedom to destroy a fetus than to create one (Thomas 46)? They are talking about the right to abort an unwanted child, but cloning will result in the death of hundreds of more fetuses. It takes countless test runs before a perfect and defect less child can be created through biotechnology. Is it right to murder all of these embryos to please the parents?

Others argue that cloning is a wonderful thing because they can bring back children that have died from disease or in an accident, this all seems so strange to me. Imagine being born and raised by your parents, then finding out that you are only a replica of child that they had once had. It seems such a profound irony, says Ian Wilmut, the scientist who cloned Dolly, that in trying to make a copy of a child who had died tragically, one of the most likely outcomes is another dead child (Thomas 55). Is it healthy to bring back an imitation of some one they loved? I definitely do not think so; the past is the past.

People have been dealing with deaths of loved ones forever; it is part of life. In a Time and CNN poll about a month ago, groups of people were asked if they thought that it was a good idea to clone an animal, sixty-seven percent answered no. Then they were asked if they thought that human cloning was a good idea, this time ninety percent answered no. In my opinion cloning any thing is wrong. We as the human race have gotten by just fine for centuries with out genetic cloning. Why do we really need it now? We do not; it is just another attention grabbing way for our technology to boom and take over all that is natural.

Human Genome Project

Scientists are taking medical technology to new heights as they race to map all of the genes in our body. There are about 100,000, in the 23 chromosomes of the human body. In doing this they hope that they can understand the basis of the genes and maybe even develop methods of treating certain genetic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Muscular Dystrophy. The scientists identify the DNA sequence of someone with the disease and then compare it to a person without the disease. By doing this they can recognize which gene is abnormal and causes the disease.

This entire process is called the “Human Genome Project” and is being done in more than 200 laboratories, with more and more labs joining each year. Most of these labs are located in France and the United States. The project started in 1990 and was predicted to take 15 years and cost $3 billion. It costs the United States about $200 million per year. The $200 million per year has only covered about 60% of the annual need. This has created some funding problems for the project. On the brighter side the project has made huge steps in gene mapping and continues to improve every year.

Researchers have successfully located the gene and the DNA sequence that causes Huntington’s Disease. It is located on Chromosome 4. Scientists have created a genetic test, which can determine whether someone carries these genes or DNA pattern. Every child of someone with Huntington’s Disease has a 50% chance of inheriting the gene, which then inevitably leads to the disease. Because of the high amounts of money it costs for treatment of this disease insurance companies see this test as an opportunity to screen potential clients for the probability of such diseases.

This would allow them to deny certain people insurance if they are at high risk. This puts the people being screen in a position where they might not be able to receive treatment for their illnesses because they won’t be able to get insurance. This is morally wrong and also violates the patients right to privacy. This information must be safeguarded from insurance companies so they will not be able to discriminate against someone with “bad genes”. These actions also bring up several ethical questions.

Does genetic testing constitute an invasion of privacy, and would it cause discrimination against those born with genetic deficiencies? Would the parental testing lead people to have more abortions? There are many genetic advancements to come in the future. One area that will benefit from the Human Genome Project is genetic engineering. It too, may have many unethical aspects depending on how the information is used and what is created. Gene Therapy is one aspect that has greatly benefited from the gene mapping done in the Human Genome Project.

It uses genetic engineering to treat genetic disorders. Gene mapping does this by introducing genes into existing cells to prevent or cure diseases. Most of the methods that have been developed are in experimental stages and have not been approved by the FDA. An example of gene therapy is the use of Herpes to treat a brain tumor. Scientists take a Herpes gene and splice it in to a nonvirulent virus. Then the virus is placed in a lab animal to reproduce itself, and after reproduction, it is then injected into the human’s brain tumor.

Because Viruses and liposomes have and uncanny ability to navigate through cell membranes it invades the tumor cells. Thus, the Herpes enzyme will make the tumor vulnerable to drugs used to cure herpes, killing the tumor, the virus and all the animal cells used to manufacture the virus. With these and many other ideas springing out from the medical world, many researchers are optimistic about the results of their research. There is also a direct correlation of the sequencing of genes and the production of drugs to treat certain diseases that have strands of defective genes, such as Alzheimer’s.

If scientists could locate the genes that cause these type of diseases then drugs can be developed to effect the specific location of the gene. The director of the gene therapy program at the University of Southern California, Dr. W French Anderson states, “Twenty years from now, gene therapy will have revolutionized medicine. Virtually every disease will have it as one of its treatments. ” Such an impact would take much longer with trial and error tactics, rather than methodically mapping out the blueprint for the body.

This research is going to continue at a blazing speed. What people need to keep in mind is that the results of this research need to be use to benefit all of society, not just the people who are extremely wealthy. Also, the decision of being tested for certain genetic diseases should lie with that individual. Some people will not be able to handle the fact that they are destine to have a certain disease or genetic flaw. Some states have already enacted law guarding the rights of individuals being genetically tested.

The problem with these laws is that they only cover certain procedures not all of the testing. One solution to stop genetic testing by insurance companies is to make them give everyone in the country the same rate. This way they could not discriminate against people and it would put everyone on a level playing field. Another solution is to keep the information completely confidential. In doing this everyone will get a chance to get the proper treatment for whatever disease that they will inherit.

Once genetic testing is mastered and becomes available for everyone insurance companies will start requiring people to be tested before they are given coverage. The government needs to put the necessary laws in place to stop this from happening. Just because an insurance company does not want to lose money on people who have “bad genes” does not mean they should be banned from coverage. What society and the people involved in Genetic testing, genetic mapping, and genetic engineering must remember is that the information they discover should be used to help mankind, not to profit economically.

What are the limits of Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering is the alteration of an organism’s DNA, or genetic, material to eliminate undesirable characteristics or to produce desirable new ones. The most controversial form of genetic engineering, by far, is cloning. Cloning is another technology that has evolved out of genetic research. While genetic engineering usually adds or removes just one or two genes, cloning involves reproducing all of an organisms genes (Tagliaferro 21). A clone is an exact genetic replica of an organism, having the same exact DNA makeup.

Understanding what genetic engineering and cloning are is important knowledge, but the most important questions are what the ethical, moral, legal, and biological issues are that deal with genetic engineering and cloning. I will discuss my person opinions about all of the issues of genetic engineering. You cannot forget that this is person opinion and not fact, as the majority of cloning is illegal, and most of these fields of exploration are, well, unexplored. I do believe that genetic engineering should be allowed, to a certain extent. I also believe that cloning should be legal, to a certain extent.

However, you cannot please everyone and though some of these things may be legal, to others they might not be moral. Currently, the trend is to genetically engineer plants for resistance to disease and increased food production; animals for new, advanced, and revolutionary medicines. This should be allowed; however there is always the possibility that the balance of nature could be changed by genetically enhanced plants. Insects will not be a problem for crops anymore; plants with altered genes have already been tested indestructible where normal crops have been eaten away.

Harvesting medicine from animals, such as hemoglobin from pigs, will eventually become unnecessary since we will be able to alter our own genes. Human genetic engineering could very well be the cure for the most widespread and devastating diseases in the world: cancer, HIV, AIDS, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons disease, you get the idea. If you already have the disease, you can alter the genes necessary to stop the disease. The best thing possible would be, if there were a family history of a certain disease, to alter the gene before the onset of the disease. This form of genetic engineering should definitely be allowed.

Human genetic engineering could also enhance or improve good traits – for instance an extra copy of the human-growth-hormone gene could be added to increase height (Wekesser 155). I dont think that a growth hormone should be allowed, unless someone is a naturally born a dwarf, since there have been reports of nasty side effects from those who have unnecessarily take the hormone. The long-term effects of gene splicing are still unknown. It is a dangerous process, and horrific accidents could occur.

For those who would like to pick and choose their childrens genetic makeup (facial features, build, etc. there could be mutations (cue images of radioactive ants) of any kind. I do not believe that made-to-order humans should be allowed, for then there would be less and less cultural diversity, and people would become more susceptible to certain strains of disease, which, to an extreme extent, could be like giving out nuclear weapons. The good points of heredity would be erased, since we would turn into superhuman genetically enhanced cyborgs. No matter what anyone says, altering human evolution is not a good idea (unless to eliminate certain hereditary diseases).

Strength enhancement for sports and the like should not be allowed, since they share the same dangers as steroids. I do not believe that we should genetically enhance our intelligence, either, but research and exploration of the unused part of our brain (around 90%) would be allowed, also with anything else to forward the knowledge of our surroundings and ourselves. I have created 10 rules and regulations regarding the laws surrounding genetic engineering. This essay is my formal opinion on all issues, moral and lawful, surrounding genetic engineering.

The New Technology – Genetic Engineering

Science is a creature that continues to evolve at a much higher rate than the beings thatgave it birth. The transformation time from tree-shrew, to ape, to human far exceeds the timefrom analytical engine, to calculator, to computer. But science, in the past, has always remaineddistant. It has allowed for advances in production, transportation, and even entertainment, butnever in history will science be able to so deeply affect our lives as genetic engineering willundoubtedly do. With the birth of this new technology, scientific extremists and anti-technologists have risen in arms to block its budding future.

Spreading fear by misinterpretationof facts, they promote their hidden agendas in the halls of the United States congress. Geneticengineering is a safe and powerful tool that will yield unprecedented results, specifically in thefield of medicine. It will usher in a world where gene defects, bacterial disease, and even agingare a thing of the past. By understanding genetic engineering and its history, discovering itspossibilities, and answering the moral and safety questions it brings forth, the blanket of fearcovering this remarkable technical miracle can be lifted.

The first step to understanding genetic engineering, and embracing its possibilities forsociety, is to obtain a rough knowledge base of its history and method. The basis for altering theevolutionary process is dependant on the understanding of how individuals pass oncharacteristics to their offspring. Genetics achieved its first foothold on the secrets of nature’sevolutionary process when an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel developed the first “laws ofheredity. ” Using these laws, scientists studied the characteristics of organisms for most of the next one hundred years following Mendel’s discovery.

These early studies concluded that eachorganism has two sets of character determinants, or genes (Stableford 16). For instance, inregards to eye color, a child could receive one set of genes from his father that were encoded oneblue, and the other brown. The same child could also receive two brown genes from his mother. The conclusion for this inheritance would be the child has a three in four chance of havingbrown eyes, and a one in three chance of having blue eyes (Stableford 16). Genes are transmitted through chromosomes which reside in the nucleus of every livingorganism’s cells.

Each chromosome is made up of fine strands of deoxyribonucleic acids, orDNA. The information carried on the DNA determines the cells function within the organism. Sex cells are the only cells that contain a complete DNA map of the organism, therefore, “thestructure of a DNA molecule or combination of DNA molecules determines the shape, form, and function of the [organism’s] offspring ” (Lewin 1). DNA discovery is attributed to the researchof three scientists, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and James Dewey Watson in 1951.

Theywere all later accredited with the Nobel Price in physiology and medicine in 1962 (Lewin 1). “The new science of genetic engineering aims to take a dramatic short cut in the slow process of evolution” (Stableford 25). In essence, scientists aim to remove one gene from anorganism’s DNA, and place it into the DNA of another organism. This would create a new DNAstrand, full of new encoded instructions; a strand that would have taken Mother Nature millionsof years of natural selection to develop. Isolating and removing a desired gene from a DNAstrand involves many different tools.

DNA can be broken up by exposing it to ultra-high-frequency sound waves, but this is an extremely inaccurate way of isolating a desirable DNA section (Stableford 26). A more accurate way of DNA splicing is the use of “restrictionenzymes, which are produced by various species of bacteria” (Clarke 1). The restrictionenzymes cut the DNA strand at a particular location called a nucleotide base, which makes up aDNA molecule. Now that the desired portion of the DNA is cut out, it can be joined to another strand of DNA by using enzymes called ligases.

The final important step in the creation of anew DNA strand is giving it the ability to self-replicate. This can be accomplished by usingspecial pieces of DNA, called vectors, that permit the generation of multiple copies of a totalDNA strand and fusing it to the newly created DNA structure. Another newly developed method, called polymerase chain reaction, allows for faster replication of DNA strands and doesnot require the use of vectors (Clarke 1). The possibilities of genetic engineering are endless.

Once the power to control theinstructions, given to a single cell, are mastered anything can be accomplished. For example,insulin can be created and grown in large quantities by using an inexpensive gene manipulationmethod of growing a certain bacteria. This supply of insulin is also not dependant on the supplyof pancreatic tissue from animals. Recombinant factor VIII, the blood clotting agent missing inpeople suffering from hemophilia, can also be created by genetic engineering. Virtually allpeople who were treated with factor VIII before 1985 acquired HIV, and later AIDS.

Beingcompletely pure, the bioengineered version of factor VIII eliminates any possibility of viral infection. Other uses of genetic engineering include creating disease resistant crops, formulatingmilk from cows already containing pharmaceutical compounds, generating vaccines, andaltering livestock traits (Clarke 1). In the not so distant future, genetic engineering will becomea principal player in fighting genetic, bacterial, and viral disease, along with controlling aging,and providing replaceable parts for humans. Medicine has seen many new innovations in its history.

The discovery of anestheticspermitted the birth of modern surgery, while the production of antibiotics in the 1920sminimized the threat from diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and cholera. The creation of serums which build up the bodies immune system to specific infections, before being laid lowwith them, has also enhanced modern medicine greatly (Stableford 59). All of these discoveries,however, will fall under the broad shadow of genetic engineering when it reaches its apex in themedical community. Many people suffer from genetic diseases ranging from thousands of types of cancers, toblood, liver, and lung disorders.

Amazingly, all of these will be able to be treated by geneticengineering, specifically, gene therapy. The basis of gene therapy is to supply a functional geneto cells lacking that particular function, thus correcting the genetic disorder or disease. Thereare two main categories of gene therapy: germ line therapy, or altering of sperm and egg cells,and somatic cell therapy, which is much like an organ transplant. Germ line therapy results in apermanent change for the entire organism, and its future offspring. Unfortunately, germ linetherapy, is not readily in use on humans for ethical reasons.

However, this genetic methodcould, in the future, solve many genetic birth defects such as downs syndrome. Somatic celltherapy deals with the direct treatment of living tissues. Scientists, in a lab, inject the tissueswith the correct, functioning gene and then re-administer them to the patient, correcting theproblem (Clarke 1). Along with altering the cells of living tissues, genetic engineering has also provenextremely helpful in the alteration of bacterial genes. “Transforming bacterial cells is easier than transforming the cells of complex organisms” (Stableford 34).

Two reasons are evident forthis ease of manipulation: DNA enters, and functions easily in bacteria, and the transformedbacteria cells can be easily selected out from the untransformed ones. Bacterial bioengineeringhas many uses in our society, it can produce synthetic insulins, a growth hormone for thetreatment of dwarfism and interferons for treatment of cancers and viral diseases (Stableford 34). Throughout the centuries disease has plagued the world, forcing everyone to take part in avirtual “lottery with the agents of death” (Stableford 59).

Whether viral or bacterial in nature,such disease are currently combated with the application of vaccines and antibiotics. These treatments, however, contain many unsolved problems. The difficulty with applying antibioticsto destroy bacteria is that natural selection allows for the mutation of bacteria cells, sometimesresulting in mutant bacterium which is resistant to a particular antibiotic. This nowindestructible bacterial pestilence wages havoc on the human body.

Genetic engineering isconquering this medical dilemma by utilizing diseases that target bacterial organisms. ese diseases are viruses, named bacteriophages, “which can be produced to attack specific disease-causing bacteria” (Stableford 61). Much success has already been obtained by treating animalswith a “phage” designed to attack the E. coli bacteria (Stableford 60). Diseases caused by viruses are much more difficult to control than those caused bybacteria. Viruses are not whole organisms, as bacteria are, and reproduce by hijacking the mechanisms of other cells. Therefore, any treatment designed to stop the virus itself, will alsostop the functioning of its host cell.

A virus invades a host cell by piercing it at a site called a”receptor”. Upon attachment, the virus injects its DNA into the cell, coding it to reproduce moreof the virus. After the virus is replicated millions of times over, the cell bursts and the newviruses are released to continue the cycle. The body’s natural defense against such cell invasionis to release certain proteins, called antigens, which “plug up” the receptor sites on healthy cells. This causes the foreign virus to not have a docking point on the cell.

This process, however, isslow and not effective against a new viral attack. Genetic engineering is improving the body’sdefenses by creating pure antigens, or antibodies, in the lab for injection upon infection with aviral disease. This pure, concentrated antibody halts the symptoms of such a disease until thebodies natural defenses catch up. Future procedures may alter the very DNA of human cells,causing them to produce interferons. These interferons would allow the cell to be abledetermine if a foreign body bonding with it is healthy or a virus.

In effect, every cell would beable to recognize every type of virus and be immune to them all (Stableford 61). Current medical capabilities allow for the transplant of human organs, and evenmechanical portions of some, such as the battery powered pacemaker. Current science can evenre-apply fingers after they have been cut off in accidents, or attach synthetic arms and legs to allow patients to function normally in society. But would not it be incredibly convenient if thehuman body could simply regrow what it needed, such as a new kidney or arm? Geneticengineering can make this a reality.

Currently in the world, a single plant cell can differentiateinto all the components of an original, complex organism. Certain types of salamanders can re-grow lost limbs, and some lizards can shed their tails when attacked and later grow them again. Evidence of regeneration is all around and the science of genetic engineering is slowly masteringits techniques. Regeneration in mammals is essentially a kind of “controlled cancer”, called ablastema. The cancer is deliberately formed at the regeneration site and then converted into a structure of functional tissues.

But before controlling the blastema is possible, “a detailedknowledge of the switching process by means of which the genes in the cell nucleus areselectively activated and deactivated” is needed (Stableford 90). To obtain proof that such aprocedure is possible one only needs to examine an early embryo and realize that it knowswhether to turn itself into an ostrich or a human. After learning the procedure to control and activate such regeneration, genetic engineering will be able to conquer such ailments asParkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other crippling diseases without grafting in new tissues.

Thebroader scope of this technique would allow the re-growth of lost limbs, repairing any damagedorgans internally, and the production of spare organs by growing them externally (Stableford90). Ever since biblical times the lifespan of a human being has been pegged at roughly 70years. But is this number truly finite? In order to uncover the answer, knowledge of the processof aging is needed. A common conception is that the human body contains an internal biologicalclock which continues to tick for about 70 years, then stops.

An alternate “watch” analogy couldbe that the human body contains a certain type of alarm clock, and after so many years, thealarm sounds and deterioration beings. With that frame of thinking, the human body does notbegin to age until a particular switch is tripped. In essence, stopping this process would simplyinvolve a means of never allowing the switch to be tripped. W. Donner Denckla, of the RocheInstitute of Molecular Biology, proposes the alarm clock theory is true. He provides evidencefor this statement by examining the similarities between normal aging and the symptoms of ahormonal deficiency disease associated with the thyroid gland.

Denckla proposes that as we getolder the pituitary gland begins to produce a hormone which blocks the actions of the thyroidhormone, thus causing the body to age and eventually die. If Denckla’s theory is correct,conquering aging would simply be a process of altering the pituitary’s DNA so it would never beallowed to release the aging hormone. In the years to come, genetic engineering may finallydefeat the most unbeatable enemy in the world, time (Stableford 94). The morale and safety questions surrounding genetic engineering currently cause this newscience to be cast in a false light.

Anti-technologists and political extremists spread falseinterpretation of facts coupled with statements that genetic engineering is not natural and defiesthe natural order of things. The morale question of biotechnology can be answered by studyingwhere the evolution of man is, and where it is leading our society. The safety question can be answered by examining current safety precautions in industry, and past safety records of manybioengineering projects already in place. The evolution of man can be broken up into three basic stages. The first, lasting millionsof years, slowly shaped human nature from Homo erectus to Home sapiens.

Natural selectionprovided the means for countless random mutations resulting in the appearance of such humancharacteristics as hands and feet. The second stage, after the full development of the humanbody and mind, saw humans moving from wild foragers to an agriculture based society. Naturalselection received a helping hand as man took advantage of random mutations in nature and bredmore productive species of plants and animals. The most bountiful wheats were collected andre-planted, and the fastest horses were bred with equally faster horses.

Even in our recenthistory the strongest black male slaves were mated with the hardest working female slaves. Thethird stage, still developing today, will not require the chance acquisition of super-mutations innature. Man will be able to create such super-species without the strict limitations imposed by natural selection. By examining the natural slope of this evolution, the third stage is a naturaland inevitable plateau that man will achieve (Stableford 8). This omniscient control of ourworld may seem completely foreign, but the thought of the Egyptians erecting vast pyramidswould have seem strange to Homo erectus as well.

Many claim genetic engineering will cause unseen disasters spiraling our world intochaotic darkness. However, few realize that many safety nets regarding bioengineering arealready in effect. The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) was formed under theNational Institute of Health to provide guidelines for research on engineered bacteria forindustrial use. The RAC has also set very restrictive guidelines requiring Federal approval if research involves pathogenicity (the rare ability of a microbe to cause disease) (Davis, Roche69). “It is well established that most natural bacteria do not cause disease.

After many years ofexperimentation, microbiologists have demonstrated that they can engineer bacteria that are just as safe as their natural counterparts” (Davis, Rouche 70). In fact the RAC reports that “there hasnot been a single case of illness or harm caused by recombinant [engineered] bacteria, and theynow are used safely in high school experiments” (Davis, Rouche 69). Scientists have alsodevised other methods of preventing bacteria from escaping their labs, such as modifying thebacteria so that it will die if it is removed from the laboratory environment.

This creates a shieldof complete safety for the outside world. It is also thought that if such bacteria were to escape itwould act like smallpox or anthrax and ravage the land. However, laboratory-created organismsare not as competitive as pathogens. Davis and Roche sum it up in extremely laymen’s terms,”no matter how much Frostban you dump on a field, it’s not going to spread” (70). In factFrostbran, developed by Steven Lindow at the University of California, Berkeley, was sprayed ona test field in 1987 and was proven by a RAC committee to be completely harmless (Thompson104).

Fear of the unknown has slowed the progress of many scientific discoveries in the past. The thought of man flying or stepping on the moon did not come easy to the average citizens ofthe world. But the fact remains, they were accepted and are now an everyday occurrence in ourlives. Genetic engineering too is in its period of fear and misunderstanding, but like every greatdiscovery in history, it will enjoy its time of realization and come into full use in society. Theworld is on the brink of the most exciting step into human evolution ever, and throughknowledge and exploration, should welcome it and its possibilities with open arms.

The Human Genome Project

The Human Genome Project is a worldwide research effort with the goal of analyzing the structure of human DNA and determining the location of the estimated 100,000 human genes. The DNA of a set of model organisms will be studied to provide the information necessary for understanding the functioning of the human genome. The information gathered by the human genome project is expected to be the source book for biomedical science in the twenty-first century and will be of great value to the field of medicine.

The project will help us to understand and eventually treat more than 4,000 genetic diseases that affect mankind. The scientific products of the human genome project will include a resource of genomic maps and DNA sequence information that will provide detailed information about the structure, organization, and characteristics of human DNA, information that constitutes the basic set of inherited “instructions” for the development and functioning of a human being.

The Human Genome Project began in the mid 1980’s and was widely examined within the scientific community and public press through the last half of that decade. In the United States, the Department of Energy (DOE) initially, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) soon after, were the main research agencies within the US government responsible for developing and planning the project. By 1988, the two agencies were working together, an association that was formalized by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to “coordinate research and technical activities related to the human genome”.

The National Center for Human Genome Research (NCHGR) was established in 1989 to head the human genome project for the NIH. NCHGR is one of twenty-four institutes, centers, or divisions that make up the NIH, the federal government’s main agency for the support of biomedical research. At least sixteen countries have established Human Genome Projects. The Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) and the National Research Council (NRC) prepared a report describing the plans for the US human genome project and is updated as further advances in the underlying technology occur.

To achieve the scientific goals, which together encompass the human genome project, a number of administrative measures have been put in place. In addition, a newsletter, an electronic bulletin board, a comprehensive administrative data base, and other communications tools are being set up to facilitate communication and tracking of progress. The overall budget needs for the effort are expected to be about $200 million per year for approximately 15 years. Lasers are used in the detection of DNA in many aspects of the project; a very important use is in sorting chromosomes by flow cytometry.

Lasers are also used in confocal fluorescence laser microscopy to excite fluorescently tagged molecules in genome mapping, in addition to other mapping uses. In diagnostic applications, lasers are used with fluorescent probes attached to DNA to light up chromosomes and to create patterns on DNA chips. From the beginning of the human genome project it was clearly recognized that acquisition and use of such genetic knowledge would have momentous involvements for both individuals and society and would pose a number of consequential choices for public and professional deliberation.

As Thomas Lee writes, “the effort underway is unlike anything ever before attempted, if successful, it could lead to our ultimate control of human disease, aging, and death”. Whatever its justification, the human genome project has already inspired society with the hope of “better” babies, and one way to deploy pragmatism in the analysis of genetic engineering is to look at this promise of “better” babies in its social context: parenthood. Parents hope for healthy children and, if they could afford it, make choices (such as choosing parental care) to help “engineer” healthier babies.

Genetic engineering seems in this respect to offer the brightest hope for parents. Through germ-line therapy, disastrous, but genetically discrete diseases, such as Huntington’s and cystic fibrosis could be removed from the DNA of the egg or zygote. Clearly parents would follow the model in choosing to avoid a short, painful life for their children. Another more reasonable fear is that we have not the slightest idea what we are doing and ought to avoid making hasty choices. Hybrid varieties are often impossible to protect from the complexities and dangers of nature.

In the human condition, this is the possibility of making an error and creating a genetically advanced baby who cannot cope with an imperfect world. While much of society reports a willingness to modify DNA for the purpose of heightening intelligence, education about genetics and medicine is still in its beginning. Jonathan Glover argues for a “pragmatism of risks and benefits”, writing that, “The debate on human genetic engineering should become like the on nuclear power: one in which large possible benefits have to be weighed against big problems and great disasters”.

One significant element is the assertion that genetic engineering is radically different from any other kind of human medicine, and constitutes interference in a restricted area, trying to “play God”. As Robert Wright notes, “Biologists and ethicists have by now expended thousands of words warning about slippery slopes, reflecting on Nazi Germany, and warning that a government quest for a super race could begin anew” if genetic engineering ventures “too far”.

In my opinion, I believe that, if and only if, a deadly disease is detected, then the scientists and/or doctors should tap into the DNA of a zygote or egg for testing and absolute knowledge of the steps of the procedure must be present. I do not believe that there should be a genetically advanced child in the world, everyone is created equal and nobody should have their destiny changed for any reason.

Genetic Engineering: Science

Genetic Engineering, history and future Altering the Face of Science. Science is a creature that continues to evolve at a much higher rate than the beings that gave it birth. The transformation time from tree-shrew, to ape, to human far exceeds the time from analytical engine, to calculator, to computer. But science, in the past, has always remained distant. It has allowed for advances in production, transportation, and even entertainment, but never in history will science be able to so deeply affect our lives as genetic engineering will undoubtedly do.

With the birth of this new technology, scientific extremists and anti-technologists have risen in arms to block its budding future. Spreading fear by misinterpretation of facts, they promote their hidden agendas in the halls of the United States congress. Genetic engineering is a safe and powerful tool that will yield unprecedented results, specifically in the field of medicine. It will usher in a world where gene defects, bacterial disease, and even aging are a thing of the past.

By understanding genetic engineering and its history, discovering its possibilities, and answering the moral and safety questions it brings forth, the blanket of fear covering this remarkable technical miracle can be lifted. The first step to understanding genetic engineering, and embracing its possibilities for society, is to obtain a rough knowledge base of its history and method. The basis for altering the evolutionary process is dependent on the understanding of how individuals pass on characteristics to their offspring.

Genetics achieved its first foothold on the secrets of nature’s evolutionary process when an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel developed the first “laws of heredity. ” Using these laws, scientists studied the characteristics of organisms for most of the next one hundred years following Mendel’s discovery. These early studies concluded that each organism has two sets of character determinants, or genes (Stableford 16). For instance, in regards to eye color, a child could receive one set of genes from his father that were encoded one blue, and the other brown.

The same child could also receive two brown genes from his mother. The conclusion for this inheritance would be the child has a three in four chance of having brown eyes, and a one in three chance of having blue eyes (Stableford 16). Genes are transmitted through chromosomes which reside in the nucleus of every living organism’s cells. Each chromosome is made up of fine strands of deoxyribonucleic acids, or DNA. The information carried on the DNA determines the cells function within the organism.

Sex cells are the only cells that contain a complete DNA map of the organism, therefore, “the structure of a DNA molecule or combination of DNA molecules determines the shape, form, and function of the [organism’s] offspring ” (Lewin 1). DNA discovery is attributed to the research of three scientists, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and James Dewey Watson in 1951. They were all later accredited with the Nobel Price in physiology and medicine in 1962 (Lewin 1). “The new science of genetic engineering aims to take a dramatic short cut in the slow process of evolution” (Stableford 25).

In essence, scientists aim to remove one gene from an organism’s DNA, and place it into the DNA of another organism. This would create a new DNA strand, full of new encoded instructions; a strand that would have taken Mother Nature millions of years of natural selection to develop. Isolating and removing a desired gene from a DNA strand involves many different tools. DNA can be broken up by exposing it to ultra-high-frequency sound waves, but this is an extremely inaccurate way of isolating a desirable DNA section (Stableford 26).

A more accurate way of DNA splicing is the use of “restriction enzymes, which are produced by various species of bacteria” (Clarke 1). The restriction enzymes cut the DNA strand at a particular location called a nucleotide base, which makes up a DNA molecule. Now that the desired portion of the DNA is cut out, it can be joined to another strand of DNA by using enzymes called ligases. The final important step in the creation of a new DNA strand is giving it the ability to self-replicate.

This can be accomplished by using special pieces of DNA, called vectors, that permit the generation of multiple copies of a total DNA strand and fusing it to the newly created DNA structure. Another newly developed method, called polymerase chain reaction, allows for faster replication of DNA strands and does not require the use of vectors (Clarke 1). The possibilities of genetic engineering are endless. Once the power to control the instructions, given to a single cell, are mastered anything can be accomplished.

For example, insulin can be created and grown in large quantities by using an inexpensive gene manipulation method of growing a certain bacteria. This supply of insulin is also not dependent on the supply of pancreatic tissue from animals. Recombinant factor VIII, the blood clotting agent missing in people suffering from hemophilia, can also be created by genetic engineering. Virtually all people who were treated with factor VIII before 1985 acquired HIV, and later AIDS.

Being completely pure, the bioengineered version of factor VIII eliminates any possibility of viral infection. Other uses of genetic engineering include creating disease resistant crops, formulating milk from cows already containing pharmaceutical compounds, generating vaccines, and altering livestock traits (Clarke 1). In the not so distant future, genetic engineering will become a principal player in fighting genetic, bacterial, and viral disease, along with controlling aging, and providing replaceable parts for humans. Medicine has seen many new innovations in its history.

The discovery of anesthetics permitted the birth of modern surgery, while the production of antibiotics in the 1920s minimized the threat from diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and cholera. The creation of serums which build up the bodies immune system to specific infections, before being laid low with them, has also enhanced modern medicine greatly (Stableford 59). All of these discoveries, however, will fall under the broad shadow of genetic engineering when it reaches its apex in the medical community. Many people suffer from genetic diseases ranging from thousands of types of cancers, to blood, liver, and lung disorders.

Amazingly, all of these will be able to be treated by genetic engineering, specifically, gene therapy. The basis of gene therapy is to supply a functional gene to cells lacking that particular function, thus correcting the genetic disorder or disease. There are two main categories of gene therapy: germ line therapy, or altering of sperm and egg cells, and somatic cell therapy, which is much like an organ transplant. Germ line therapy results in a permanent change for the entire organism, and its future offspring. Unfortunately, germ line therapy, is not readily in use on humans for ethical reasons.

However, this genetic method could, in the future, solve many genetic birth defects such as downs syndrome. Somatic cell therapy deals with the direct treatment of living tissues. Scientists, in a lab, inject the tissues with the correct, functioning gene and then re-administer them to the patient, correcting the problem (Clarke 1). Along with altering the cells of living tissues, genetic engineering has also proven extremely helpful in the alteration of bacterial genes. “Transforming bacterial cells is easier than transforming the cells of complex organisms” (Stableford 34).

Two reasons are evident for this ease of manipulation: DNA enters, and functions easily in bacteria, and the transformed bacteria cells can be easily selected out from the untransformed ones. Bacterial bioengineering has many uses in our society, it can produce synthetic insulins, a growth hormone for the treatment of dwarfism and interferons for treatment of cancers and viral diseases (Stableford 34). Throughout the centuries disease has plagued the world, forcing everyone to take part in a virtual “lottery with the agents of death” (Stableford 59).

Whether viral or bacterial in nature, such disease are currently combated with the application of vaccines and antibiotics. These treatments, however, contain many unsolved problems. The difficulty with applying antibiotics to destroy bacteria is that natural selection allows for the mutation of bacteria cells, sometimes resulting in mutant bacterium which is resistant to a particular antibiotic. This now indestructible bacterial pestilence wages havoc on the human body.

Genetic engineering is conquering this medical dilemma by utilizing diseases that target bacterial organisms. ese diseases are viruses, named bacteriophages, “which can be produced to attack specific disease-causing bacteria” (Stableford 61). Much success has already been obtained by treating animals with a “phage” designed to attack the E. coli bacteria (Stableford 60). Diseases caused by viruses are much more difficult to control than those caused by bacteria. Viruses are not whole organisms, as bacteria are, and reproduce by hijacking the mechanisms of other cells. Therefore, any treatment designed to stop the virus itself, will also stop the functioning of its host cell.

A virus invades a host cell by piercing it at a site called a “receptor”. Upon attachment, the virus injects its DNA into the cell, coding it to reproduce more of the virus. After the virus is replicated millions of times over, the cell bursts and the new viruses are released to continue the cycle. The body’s natural defense against such cell invasion is to release certain proteins, called antigens, which “plug up” the receptor sites on healthy cells. This causes the foreign virus to not have a docking point on the cell.

This process, however, is slow and not effective against a new viral attack. Genetic engineering is improving the body’s defenses by creating pure antigens, or antibodies, in the lab for injection upon infection with a viral disease. This pure, concentrated antibody halts the symptoms of such a disease until the bodies natural defenses catch up. Future procedures may alter the very DNA of human cells, causing them to produce interferons. These interferons would allow the cell to be able determine if a foreign body bonding with it is healthy or a virus.

In effect, every cell would be able to recognize every type of virus and be immune to them all (Stableford 61). Current medical capabilities allow for the transplant of human organs, and even mechanical portions of some, such as the battery powered pacemaker. Current science can even re-apply fingers after they have been cut off in accidents, or attach synthetic arms and legs to allow patients to function normally in society. But would not it be incredibly convenient if the human body could simply regrow what it needed, such as a new kidney or arm? Genetic engineering can make this a reality.

Currently in the world, a single plant cell can differentiate into all the components of an original, complex organism. Certain types of salamanders can re-grow lost limbs, and some lizards can shed their tails when attacked and later grow them again. Evidence of regeneration is all around and the science of genetic engineering is slowly mastering its techniques. Regeneration in mammals is essentially a kind of “controlled cancer”, called a blastema. The cancer is deliberately formed at the regeneration site and then converted into a structure of functional tissues.

But before controlling the blastema is possible, “a detailed knowledge of the switching process by means of which the genes in the cell nucleus are selectively activated and deactivated” is needed (Stableford 90). To obtain proof that such a procedure is possible one only needs to examine an early embryo and realize that it knows whether to turn itself into an ostrich or a human. After learning the procedure to control and activate such regeneration, genetic engineering will be able to conquer such ailments as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other crippling diseases without grafting in new tissues.

The broader scope of this technique would allow the re-growth of lost limbs, repairing any damaged organs internally, and the production of spare organs by growing them externally (Stableford 90). Ever since biblical times the lifespan of a human being has been pegged at roughly 70 years. But is this number truly finite? In order to uncover the answer, knowledge of the process of aging is needed. A common conception is that the human body contains an internal biological clock which continues to tick for about 70 years, then stops.

An alternate “watch” analogy could be that the human body contains a certain type of alarm clock, and after so many years, the alarm sounds and deterioration beings. With that frame of thinking, the human body does not begin to age until a particular switch is tripped. In essence, stopping this process would simply involve a means of never allowing the switch to be tripped. W. Donner Denckla, of the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, proposes the alarm clock theory is true.

He provides evidence for this statement by examining the similarities between normal aging and the symptoms of a hormonal deficiency disease associated with the thyroid gland. Denckla proposes that as we get older the pituitary gland begins to produce a hormone which blocks the actions of the thyroid hormone, thus causing the body to age and eventually die. If Denckla’s theory is correct, conquering aging would simply be a process of altering the pituitary’s DNA so it would never be allowed to release the aging hormone.

In the years to come, genetic engineering may finally defeat the most unbeatable enemy in the world, time (Stableford 94). The morale and safety questions surrounding genetic engineering currently cause this new science to be cast in a false light. Anti-technologists and political extremists spread false interpretation of facts coupled with statements that genetic engineering is not natural and defies the natural order of things. The morale question of biotechnology can be answered by studying where the evolution of man is, and where it is leading our society.

The safety question can be answered by examining current safety precautions in industry, and past safety records of many bioengineering projects already in place. The evolution of man can be broken up into three basic stages. The first, lasting millions of years, slowly shaped human nature from Homo erectus to Home sapiens. Natural selection provided the means for countless random mutations resulting in the appearance of such human characteristics as hands and feet. The second stage, after the full development of the human body and mind, saw humans moving from wild foragers to an agriculture based society.

Natural selection received a helping hand as man took advantage of random mutations in nature and bred more productive species of plants and animals. The most bountiful wheats were collected and re-planted, and the fastest horses were bred with equally faster horses. Even in our recent history the strongest black male slaves were mated with the hardest working female slaves. The third stage, still developing today, will not require the chance acquisition of super-mutations in nature. Man will be able to create such super-species without the strict limitations imposed by natural selection.

By examining the natural slope of this evolution, the third stage is a natural and inevitable plateau that man will achieve (Stableford 8). This omniscient control of our world may seem completely foreign, but the thought of the Egyptians erecting vast pyramids would have seem strange to Homo erectus as well. Many claim genetic engineering will cause unseen disasters spiraling our world into chaotic darkness. However, few realize that many safety nets regarding bioengineering are already in effect.

The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) was formed under the National Institute of Health to provide guidelines for research on engineered bacteria for industrial use. The RAC has also set very restrictive guidelines requiring Federal approval if research involves pathogenicity (the rare ability of a microbe to cause disease) (Davis, Roche 69). “It is well established that most natural bacteria do not cause disease. After many years of experimentation, microbiologists have demonstrated that they can engineer bacteria that are just as safe as their natural counterparts” (Davis, Rouche 70).

In fact the RAC reports that “there has not been a single case of illness or harm caused by recombinant [engineered] bacteria, and they now are used safely in high school experiments” (Davis, Rouche 69). Scientists have also devised other methods of preventing bacteria from escaping their labs, such as modifying the bacteria so that it will die if it is removed from the laboratory environment. This creates a shield of complete safety for the outside world. It is also thought that if such bacteria were to escape it would act like smallpox or anthrax and ravage the land.

However, laboratory-created organisms are not as competitive as pathogens. Davis and Roche sum it up in extremely laymen’s terms, “no matter how much Frostban you dump on a field, it’s not going to spread” (70). In fact Frostbran, developed by Steven Lindow at the University of California, Berkeley, was sprayed on a test field in 1987 and was proven by a RAC committee to be completely harmless (Thompson 104). Fear of the unknown has slowed the progress of many scientific discoveries in the past.

The thought of man flying or stepping on the moon did not come easy to the average citizens of the world. But the fact remains, they were accepted and are now an everyday occurrence in our lives. Genetic engineering too is in its period of fear and misunderstanding, but like every great discovery in history, it will enjoy its time of realization and come into full use in society. The world is on the brink of the most exciting step into human evolution ever, and through knowledge and exploration, should welcome it and its possibilities with open arms.

Genetically Modified Food

Science is a creature that continues to advance at a much higher rate than ever before. World of information adds to humans` discovery and smoothens the path for more advances. But never in history science will be able to deeply affect our lives as science of Genetic Engineering does. With all the respects to this new advancement, Biotechnology forces humanity’s power over forces of nature and also carries the risks to human health, the environment, animal and biodiversity.

Therefore, this issue can be looked at various ways, which includes religious views on genetic engineering, cloning human’s genes, transmission of animal and plant genes, scientific and economical views, opponent groups and supporters` views. The first step to understand genetic engineering is to have a rough knowledge of its history and methods. Genetic was first been known when an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel developed the first discovery of human beings and other scientists studied the characteristics of organisms for next one hundred years.

The basic knowledge about genes is that “Genes are transmitted through chromosomes which reside in the nucleus of organism’s cells. Each chromosome is made up of fine stands of deoxyribonucleic acid DNA. ” (Clarke 10). And this technology of genetic transmission is called “Biotechnology”. But new signs of biotechnology approved when the advert of World War II brought the manufacture of penicillin. The successful use of penicillin made a thought to widen the choices to genetically modified food and crops.

Fairly speaking, the first reason for creating Genetic Modified foods was to help millions of starving people around the world by mass production of GM food with new characteristics, usage and tastes. Nevertheless, this helpful dream did not last long and human’s power changed the whole process of genetic engineering. One of the main needed considerations is to have a religious view on genetic engineering. In the current case in genetic engineering, life can easily created and ruled by one’s liking.

How can a human being break his limits and create and alter living things that only God has had the right to do so? Dont we know that trying to be on a same level as God has a punishment? In an example, builders of nuclear power and atom bomb indicate that God gave us knowledge to discover. If this is true, why they use this discovery for killing other human beings? And why did God give us the knowledge to destroy the world in few minutes? This world is created by God and based on natural basis, and creatures do not have the right to change that basis.

Therefore, they should not decide what sex a baby should have, how intelligent he has to be or how he should look. Genetic engineering is a human made way to change the structures of God’s creatures and to use it as a power over other humans. Biotechnology, commercialized technology of transmitted genes, is worrisome when its been said that this technology can offer cloning of human’s genes. Transferring one’s genes and submit it to another one’s body is the basic process of cloning. The process was first tasted on animals.

For instance, in West Vancouver, Bob Devlin and his team store the living products of their efforts at gene splicing. What they did was, borrowing the growth hormone gene naturally found in trout and then inserted it into fish embryos. The result is that the new fish grows faster and it is as much as thirty-seven times bigger than its normal size. This was a successful result in genetic engineering field but the reality was that “twenty percent of oversized fish have sprouted unexplainable bulous growths, signs of cartilage run awoke. Boyens 28). With the growth rate of biotechnology usage, some whispers have been heard about human cloning and its benefits in future of our children. Their try to clone a human and create an intelligent, beautiful and skinny creature is their long time dream and they advertise the cloning for parents in order to have children with these characteristics. But won’t it be weird for children to find themselves different from their parents? Who will be responsible of unlikeness of children from their own parents?

Who will tell the truth to these children that they have not been created naturally and from DNA transmission but from labratorarical cloning by biotechnology corporations and not by their parents. Without the doubt neither of fair parents will prefer alittle more intelligence of their kids to pure honesty with their beloved children. Another branch of genetic engineering is genetically modified crops that has raised many disagreements in International corporations but a great demand for grain in near future is a strong reason for GM corporations to win public acceptance.

In the recent statistics of Times magazine, “by the year 2020 the demand for grain, both for human consumption and for animal feed is projected to go up by nearly half, while the amount of arable land available to satisfy that demand will not grow much more slowly but also will probably dwindle. “(Time Magazine 40). It is indeed to note that %52 of people eat outside of dinning home and compared to European countries, North American people spend less on their food that makes that only one tenth of their income. (Boyens 4).

Therefore, because of the above reason and many more like: A company like Monsanto started to grow unexpectively fast and profitable to become manipulate of GM corporations. Even though, a huge company like Monsanto can be a big help to provide grain needs for country and also export around the world, but the recent close connection between Monsanto’s management with U. S federal MPs has made it hard for a fair production. Moreover, it has been a long time that Genetic Modified Food producers do not indicate GM good labeling.

Because truly speaking, they do not see any need to indicate it to the public. Interesting point is where Food and Drug Commissioner brought the reason as: “Genetic Modified Food is not a special thing to indicate in labeling. Except some allergic ingredients, all traditional and bioengineered foods have to have a same labeling requirements. “(FDA Consumer Magazine 5). But won’t it be necessary for some people to know what kind of food they are really buying?

As a matter of fact, “%75 of people like to be informed about GM contained food they are buying, while %60 of processed or manufactured food-cookie, ice cream contains Genetic Engineered soybeans. “(Boyens 5). In future, on the dairy shelves, milk is cowdrugged with growth hormone designed ensure huge milk yields. Genetic engineering has a large potential to help problems such as “developing crop varieties with resistance to pests and diseases. “(UNESCO Courier 29).

But the important point is that the impact of this technology on human health and the environment asks for a wide worldwide discussion. As a matter of fact, security of farmlands containing GM crops is concerned, too. If the monopolistic control over crop varieties lead to a situation where large areas are covered with few different crops, then if they get affected by a serious disease because of breakdown of resistance, who will pay for this big loss in the large farmlands?

While in the overall view, people are the ones who get most of the effects by biotechnology, but a complete major information is needed for people before they judge on the effect of biotechnology in their lives. Today and based on modern biotechnology, scientists insert a single or two genes into the crop and that makes a new crop with individual characteristics. Sometimes, testing new characteristics are fairly attractive and useful. For example, gardeners and farmers have crossbred plants to create a prettier flower or productive crops.

However, as the commissioner of Food & Drug Administration indicates, no matter how a new crop is created, these should be a proper conduction for testing quality of the new crops. (FDA Consumer Magazine 2). Also, some genetic modifications have been made to Canola & Soybean plants to produce different percentage of fat in the food. However, with all the respects to the new modern technology, a certain labeling is required for all the genetic modified food to inform people about the way of processing the food.

But in fact, as GM producers admit, they do not see any need to inform people about genetically modified ingredients in the labeling. Is this really a fair response to people’s need for information? Dont people deserve to know the kind and the way of processing the food they eat? How about religious people who strictly avoid GM foods? How will they going to be informed? This is another reason for proving humanity’s power over forces of nature in genetic engineering field.

Along with scientific views of Genetic Engineering, Economical views play a major part in Genetic Engineering field and better to say it the main reason why Biotechnology is discovered. Without a doubt, the important crisis of today’s world is still hunger and this issue has worried International Organization to provide a certain help for solving it. In fact, the basic reason of biotechnology and creating genetic modified food was because of mass production of GM food under control of producers. With this mass production, the same hectares of farmlands can raise double amount of crops in the field.

Therefore, the worrisome about world hunger could be ignored, if GM food was totally healthy to be exported to the poor countries. However, with recent manipulation of giant biotechnology corporations such as Monsanto, AgrEvo and Novartis, less amount of money is spent on researchers and GM labeling test and therefore there will be more profits for these companies. As a matter of fact, however with almost two decades of biotechnology foods in North America, still many poor countries do not have the economical budget for providing biotechnology tools.

Therefore, as time goes on rich countries get richer with more food amount of opportunities and poor countries stay behind the modern technology and hunger still hurt them for a long time that in fact nothing instead of planned process can help them to survive this issue. That is why many scientists disagree with the idea of mass production of crops with the new Biotechnology’s rapid growth. As John Fagn, American Molecular Biologist, states: “science is not the problem, lets go forward on the basis of science, not economics or politics. and also ” The gene therapy techniques are going to put us in the same place that nuclear power did-we got burned not realizing the potential for side-effects. ”

Because the sad thing is according to recent statistics “From review of field testing and commercialization of transgenic plants from 1986 to 1995,it was found that %91 of 2500 field processed of biotech crops occur in industrial countries and only %2 in developing countries of Asia and very few in Africa. “(Boyens 211). It has been well proved even to local scientists that today’s biotechnology is nothing more than forcing human power.

As a Bioethicist, Arthur Shafer blames new technology as “It is so easy to say its going to bandit these poor people. That is not why it is being introduced. It is being introduced to make money. ” The question is should this biotechnology business, continue to grow monilulately or it should find a fair role in the new International market? The new Biotechnology business and marketing manipulation instead of exporting new technology has raised many strong voices of Anti-Biotechnology around the world. While American Gene giant, Monsanto, tries to grow faster and faster, European countries resist from using GM foods.

The main reason that exporters explain is that in the culture of Europeans, food has a key role and Europeans do care fairly a lot about the food they eat. On the other hand, North American people spend great deal of their time in fast food restaurants with cheap quality and low prices. Also, the economical benefits of Genetic Modified foods in future have had an advantage over the safeness of Genetic Modified food. But in Europe it differs, thats why European Union environmental ministers banned any Genetic Modified food import for three years and until 2002.

Moreover, British Medical Association, Friends of earth, Green Peace, Women’s institute and other anti Genetic Modified campaigns has increased From 6 campaign to 50 campaigns and Japan, the leading importer of GM crops from U. S, has urged for labeling of GM food before banning them. In fact, with rising doubts about environmental and health effects of Genetic Engineering. More Anti-biotechnology campaigns raised their voices and hope to save the world’s food sources from any human manipulation or unwise control.

Along with Anti- Biotechnologists, there are quite a lot of businesses and corporations who welcome Genetic Engineering in its new experience. In fact, trying to understand the population of supporters of Genetic Engineering can help to discover more about the new technology. While supporters of Genetic Modified food are businesses and giant and well known corporations, on the other side, Anti-Biotechnoligists are ordinary people, environmentalists and biologists. The conclusion comes up that the main reason for supporting Biotechnology is its huge profit and its capability to grow.

However, indicating some supporters` views is useful to have a correct judgement about the true face of genetic engineering. Supporters complain that genetic engineering creates disease resistant, Generatis vaccines and altering living traits and they hope that in near future, bacterial and viral diseases will face resistant by Genetic Engineering while replaceable parts can be created by human (Clarke 47). Moreover, fast growing of population and reaching to six billion people, it is very necessary to find a proper solution for world’s hunger and starvation of millions of people.

But as mentioned here before, people do not show interest in genetic engineering products, because they know that feeding millions of people with GM food is not as important as the quality, safeness and healthy food that these millions are fed with. From the above facts, it can be concluded that because of the conflicts every new technology and specially Biotechnology can have and because of the proved effort of corporations to force humanity’s power over other creatures, a strong proper research should be done before any broaden action.

But due to the fact that the new human made technology can be very useful in solving today’s agricultural issues, trying to control the technology as best and modernized as possible, will provide great facilities in the future of human life. Because if not, then continued overrule of power by humans will bring many environmental and health issues for people and affects natural existences that can never be replaced again.

Genetic Modified Food: Benefit or Detriment

The most wonderful activity a human being can experience is new flavors and foods. For example, the first time a person tastes a delicious juicy piece of prime rib or a delightful hamburger with cheese and ham, his world is never the same. However, since the beginning of the twentieth century, the production of food has been supplemented by science. This has triggered an angry dispute between the people who support the advances of biotechnology and people who love nature.

In order to understand the controversy, we have to know the meaning of genetically modified foods. With new technological advances, scientists can modify seeds from a conventional seed to a high tech seed with shorter maturation times and resistance to dryness, cold and heat. This is possible with the implementation of new genes into the DNA of the conventional seed. Once these “transgenes” are transferred, they can create plants with better characteristics (Harris 164-165).

The farmers love it not only because it guarantees a good production, but the cost is also reduced. On the other hand, organizations such as Greenpeace and Friends of Earth have campaigned against GMO (“Riesgos”) because they think that they are negatively affecting the earth (Gerdes 26). Both the advocates and the opponents of genetically modified foods have excellent arguments. Advocates claim that the world may benefit greatly from the production and consumption of GM foods, especially those countries with high rates of poverty and starvation.

Experts insist that the GM products will put an end to world hunger. It is estimated that the world population will grow up to 9 billion people in 2050, and a good alternative to feed them is the GM products. Nowadays, in almost all African countries people are dying because of hunger and hunger-related diseases. The estimate of life expectation in these countries is fifty seven years old, and it will decrease to forty seven in 2020 (kwengwere 2-3). The governments of these countries are battling to put a stop to this unfair situation.

Experts have said that the best alternative is the implementation of GM cultures in Africa; it will reduce the deaths, increase the life expectations and nourish the whole continent (Forsberg 1). The future of Africa is uncertain, but it is sure to depend on the hands of GM production. Many people are asking how GMO would prevent all these problems. The key is in the production. The growth of GM crops is faster than the conventional seeds. For that reason, farmers can produce more and more. These seeds are resistant to cold and hot weather and have more chances to resist dryness than the others.

Also, these crops are herbicide resistant; that means that farmers can spray with herbicide and defeat the weeds without altering the crop. For that reason, a lot of money is saved by the reduced use of pesticides, and the cost of production is benefited. Almost 8. 25 millions farmers all over the world planted genetically modified seeds in 2004, compared to 7 million in 2003, said the international Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA)(“Biotech” 1).

In addition to the strong production, as John B. Alfred, a professor in the department of food science and technology at Ohio State University, said, “These foods are as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts”(Alfred 1). These GM plants are modified to produce proteins that plants would not produce by natural means. They grow up with built-in Vitamin A that prevents blindness in people who have Vitamin A deficiency. Scientists have also created GM potatoes which absorb less oil when fried. That means less fat in the potato, converting popular french fries from junk food to nutritious and healthy food.

Scientists have also developed an apple with a built-in vaccine which prevents childhood pneumonia (“GM Food” 1). These are only some benefits of the genetically modified foods, but some people are asking themselves, do we want mutant plants, killer tomatoes and other atrocities to replace natural food? The introduction of genetically modified agriculture and foods in our system has caused a number of questions about negative consequences. Is the GM food secured for the health of human beings, and how is this affecting the ecosystem?

The impact of these GM crops on natural ecosystems is uncertain. There are many concerns. If the GM plants mix with another species, they might form an undesired plant or hurt the animals that live in the ecosystem. “Genes can move in pollen by wind or insects. Seeds can get stuck in machinery or mixed in storage and transportation systems. There are very many routes of vulnerability,” said a panel chairman David Andow of the University of Minnesota (“Riesgos”). In 1999, a report said that only 56% of monarch butterflies survived after eating milkweed surfaced with engineered corn pollen.

A study found out that the larvae was poisoned with the toxin on the corn pollen. This pollen could also mix with another relative or unrelated plant and form an undesired plant resistant to herbicides and almost impossible to kill (Dougherty 1). Another determent of GM organisms is that Bio-technology companies are taking commercial control over the farmers through their products. This means that the farmers will depend on the companies, and the production of agriculture products will be in some way monopolized.

Only 1% of GM research is aimed at crops used by poor farmers in poor countries. It can cost up to 200 million dollars and 12 years to develop a GM crop, and that cost has to be recouped by selling to farmers who can pay for it. The price of the food will increase, poor countries will suffer the consequences, and the hunger will still be there (Hazards 1). A good example that proves this is Argentina. This country is in second place of GM production and is the only developing country producing genetically engineering crops on a large scale.

All this production is exported to foreign countries while millions of Argentineans are suffering hunger. Instead of focusing on risky technologies, all that money used should be directed to giving poor people land, credit, resources, and markets so they can feed themselves and sell their surplus crops (“Feeding the World” 1). There are four multinationals that control the seed market. Monsanto, Syngenta Bayer CropScience, and Dupont, but about 91 % of all GM crops grown in the world are from Monstanto (Brown 1). This shows that GM crops are more likely to benefit rich corporations than poor people.

Another consequence of GM crops is that genetic modifications can develop proteins in plants which a consumer could be allergic to. For example, one of the most common allergies is with the peanut. What would happen if peanut proteins interlace into tomato seeds? Then people with peanut allergies would not be able to eat genetically modified tomatoes. There are many reasons to stop the production of GM food. It can produce serious long-term nature accidents, but there is no way to know much about it until is too late (“GM Food” 2). In conclusion, the application of genetically modified food has a lot of pros and cons.

There is so much disagreement about the benefits and risks of GM because there are so many different views surrounding it. This issue is very important today because it will change our future. How would the world be when every single living creature will be in some aspect genetically modified? Would we be more resistant to illness? Or would we be weaker and more vulnerable to diseases? Would this be the beginning of the mutant era? Regardless of the answers to these questions, we will need to consider the implications of genetically modified foods.

Genetics Engineering Essay

Hollywood has been showing it to us for years. Frankenstein, The Six Million Dollar Man, Jurassic Park, etc. ; the list goes on. All these movies show man’s instinct to create. This fiction of playing God in recent years is becoming a reality. In 1952, deoxyribonucleic acid was discovered(Dewitt, 1994). The spiral staircase molecule, DNA. DNA is the building block of life. This block holds the code for every aspect of any life on the planet Earth. DNA decides whether one life will be a plant or rhinoceros. DNA also carries the information that tells how smart, creative, bossy, shy, athletic, or any other description you an think of.

The secret code of DNA would prove to be invaluable. This is the reason the Human Genome Project has been started. Scientist around the world are using super computers to crack the code. This 15 year project is predicted to end by the year 2005(Dewitt, 1994). That is only 10 years from now. What does that mean to the average Joe? Well, today we already live with genetically engineered items. The FDA has approved bioengineered tomatoes that ripen without rotting(Dewitt, 1994). Entire herds of cattle are now being injected with a growth hormone(BST) so that hey will produce more milk than ordinary cattle(Dewitt, 1994).

Also drought resistance grass that needs no moving. Scientists will soon be able to collect DNA from endangered species. This DNA could be used to clone more condors, bald eagle, mountain gorillas, and many other animals. Totally extinct animals may be recreated as well, i. e. Jurassic Park. Imagine having your own dodo bird or pet triceratops. Many types of diseases will be cured. Just take out the gene that giving you the problem. Pure panacea. As soon as a baby is born his or hers parents will know everything about him or her.

If they will be artistic. Will she get breast cancer? Will he be tall or short? Is he a genius. Ten years from 2005, these questions won’t even have to be asked. Made to order babies. Made to order babies?!? Is this where we are headed? It’s only a matter of time before a president’s hair clippings are swept up at a barbershop and then used to detect what diseases he has or is susceptible to. The rich may one day be able to obtain immortality by cloning themselves. I couldn’t picture three Donald Trumps all thinking the same. There is even a darker side to this. Governments may decide to create super soldiers. Killing machines with top physical and mental prowess.

This was the dream of Adolf Hitler himself. These genetic alterations may also only be accessible to the rich. Darwin’s rule of evolution, survival of the fittest; if this holds true, anyone with more than 25% melanin in their skin(Afrikans mainly)will be left out. The perfect man and woman will be a reality with genetic engineering. What is the perfect man or woman? That is a question no one knows, but probably someone will soon define. Mankind may get so intelligent that we forget all of our animal instincts. As with all things, there can be a good side and a bad side.

Genetic engineering will have a major effect on our future society. There will be many social changes. It is hard enough today to know whether someone has breast implants or if there hair is real. We might have to guess if a person was born or manufactured at Genes R’ Us(Dewitt, 1994). A greater sense of deception and mistrust will invade the psyche of the masses. Our behavior itself may itself be a manufactured product of some person in a white lab coat. Many believe that the Internet and online services will lead to the elimination of personal privacy. Genetic and bioengineering just maybe the end to human nature.

DNA chips and the pharmaceutical industry

When future historians look back on the greatest scientific advancements of the 20th century, they will without a doubt focus on only three events: the Apollo Moon landing, the invention of the microprocessor, and possibly the greatest scientific endeavor yet, genomics, the science of identifying genes and how they work in humans. It is possibly not a total coincidence then that two of this centuries greatest advancements have grown out of the same cradle of technology, Silicon Valley.

The first advancement was the invention of the microprocessor, and the second was the invention of the DNA chip, also called the DNA array or biochip. These DNA chips are the newest tools being used in the study of genomics. DNA chips are changing the way researchers analyze the genetic make-up of cells, and will soon render traditional pharmaceutical research obsolete. This allows for whole new generations of drugs that will be made to combat diseases by effecting changes in a their specific genetic design.

Currently the pharmaceutical industry is a very high risk industry in which fewer than one in ten promising drug products ever makes it through the testing phase and onto the shelves at the local pharmacy. The effect is that the production of a new drug is almost like a guessing game that may or may not produce any profit. A Company may have a long list of chemicals that could make possible drugs to treat a specific affliction, but by the time they narrow the list down, and do the necessary research and testing, they may have already spent possibly millions of dollars.

In the end they may not even be left with a viable drug to market. This section is designed to educate the reader on some of the background information needed to understand the nature of DNA chips, as well as to appreciate the benefits the chips could bring to pharmaceutical research. This section consists of the following sections: The Definition of DNA Chips, and The Pharmaceutical Industry Today. The Definition of DNA Chips DNA chips bear an amazing resemblance to microchips.

DNA chips are basically pieces of silicon that are layered with a dense checkerboard-like grid of sites called features [2]. There are typically anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000 of these features on any given 2X2cm DNA chip. Attached at each feature are millions of copies of a single segment of DNA, which acts as a DNA probe. Each segment of DNA can range from a few nucleotides, to millions. Nucleotides are the chemical building blocks of DNA. There are only four nucleotides that make up every single strand of DNA in every living creature: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine.

Any genetic material being tested is first labeled with a fluorescent marker. When the marked DNA is applied to the DNA chip, any strands of marked DNA whose nucleotide sequence is complimentary to the sequence of a given DNA probe, will hybridize to the DNA probe and hence “stick” to the chip. Any other marked DNA that does not compliment one of the particular sequences of a probe on the chip, will not stick, and can be washed away. Even DNA segments that partially complement and bond with the DNA of the probe, will be washed away with a 97 percent success rate.

Carefully designed arrays of DNA probes can give the DNA chip the ability to represent an entire genes nucleotide sequence. Such chips can reveal visually, via hundred thousand-dollar read-out displays, whether the DNA sample being tested differs by even a single nucleotide from the standard version. When there may be millions of nucleotides in a given sample, being able to identify one that doesn’t match is a tremendous feat. The technology that spawned the DNA chip became a reality in the early 1990’s, after the commencement of the Human Genome Project (HGP).

The HGP was started in 1990 and is one of the most ambitious endeavors ever undertaken by mankind. It is a government funded project whose two major goals are to identify the 80,000 to 100,000 genes in human DNA, and to determine the nucleotide sequences of the 3 billion or so chemical bases that make-up human DNA. The genes in human DNA largely determine every physical characteristic, and possibly many mental characteristics that define what a human being is. It is our genes that make us different from every other living creature.

The chemical codes that make up these genes are in effect a “book of life. ” The HGP was expected to be completed in the year 2005, but several technological advancements, such as DNA chips, have pushed the expected completion date at least 4 years forward to 2001. The major difference between DNA chips and previous DNA sequencing technologies is not in what the chips do, but in the manner of how it is done. Previous methods of gene sequencing focused on analyzing only one gene at a time, and to analyze one could take several weeks.

By utilizing DNA chip technology, literally thousands of genes can be analyzed and identified simultaneously and all this can be accomplished within days or even hours. Previous technologies would cost thousands of dollars to analyze one gene, but DNA chips can accomplish the same task for a hundred dollars or less per gene. The idea behind DNA chips is that the sequence of a standard DNA sample must be known before a chip can be of use. Once this sequence is identified a chip is tailor-made to search for that particular sequence or sequences, and match it to the DNA of a sample.

It is feasible that within the next decade, after the human genetic design has been analyzed and established, a DNA chip will be made that will have the ability to analyze a few cell samples of an individual, and within hours or possibly even minutes, determine if and exactly how that persons gene make-up differs from the standard human gene make-up. There could possibly be hundreds of genetic differences. Any one of these differences could be the cause of a specific type of ailment or cause a genetic predisposition to a certain type of ailment.

So in effect, this technology gives science the potential ability to analyze the specific genetic make-up of every living creature on earth, by determining how that creatures genetic make-up differs from a standard known genetic make-up. Once all of this information is known, the possibilities for DNA chips, and hence the market for DNA chips, becomes endless. One of the greatest and most obvious markets for the DNA chip will be its use in the pharmaceutical industry. In order to understand the potential benefits of the chips use in the pharmaceutical industry, one must first understand the nature of the industry as it stands today.

The Task at Hand

Science is defined as knowledge based on observed facts and tested truths arranged in an orderly system. It has had an extreme effect on technology, which covers production, transportation, and even entertainment. In the past, though, science has always remained distant. However, with the birth of genetic engineering, science has become something that will deeply affect lives. Advancements are being made daily with genetic engineering: the Human Genome Project is nearly done, gene replacement therapy lies within reach, and cloning is on the horizon.

Genetically altered foods have already become an important aspect of life with “new and better varieties” (Bier, 2001, p. 65) and even the possibilities of solving world hunger. There is no doubt of the benefits that genetic engineering can offer society, but can scientists look that far ahead and truly say what is for the good of society? Does the world understand genetics enough to welcome the possibilities with open arms? Society often runs away or hides from problems, but with genetic engineering it cannot ignore the possible outcomes whether good or bad.

Genetic engineering is clearly beneficial to all kinds of people, but it is possible that negative issues exist which could counteract any good results. “In the near term, there are some very interesting and important issues that we all should consider as a society because they raise potentially profound moral and ethical questions” (Bier, 2001, p. 70). Such issues are that of discrimination and the dangers and difficulty in making ethical decisions. It is society’s duty to step back and view these issues before pursuing genetic research and heading down a destructive path.

Since the origin of man, discrimination has found its way into every type of society through forms of sexism, racism, and religious and cultural prejudice. Throughout the years, though, society has worked to reduce such intolerances and give everyone equal rights. However, if genetic engineering is added to the scene, equal rights could possibly plummet into oblivion. Andrew Niccol accentuates such inequality in his movie Gattaca. In Gattaca, Vincent Freeman is a man who is born naturally instead of in a lab.

Because of this he is labeled by the world as an invalid, and no employment, social position, or even love is possible for him except for those assigned specially to invalids. In order to obtain his dream job, Vincent must use another’s identity to pass as a valid. The fact that he must be a “valid” to acquire a decent job points out the possible outcome of discrimination in the employment world if genetic engineering would become a reality. Employers could obtain a sample of a person’s DNA and not give him/her the job solely based on genes.

Like in Gattaca, there would become jobs for those genetically engineered: lawyers, doctors, and businessmen; and jobs for those naturally born: janitors, bus drivers, and garbage men. In short, equality of rights and opportunity would cease to exist. Discrimination, however, would not stop with employment. Prejudice would become an everyday event even in social life. If genetic engineering leads to pre-picking genes to prevent birth defects, “how will we react to children we meet who have that disorder? ” (Baker, 2001). People will see the child and wonder why it was born.

Parents will have the chance to choose whatever genes they see fit for their child, offering it the best of everything. Society, however, will then look down upon those children “naturally” born. If this type of genetic engineering becomes a common occurrence, society is bound to discriminate against those people with defects or even differences. Yet differences are not bad and can be seen as unique and characteristic of the person they belong to. Some people even say that genetic engineering would “undermine the right of every person to be valued for his or her uniqueness” (Baker, 2001).

The argument is that upon entering this life, a person is given certain qualities and inequalities that make him/her unique to each other. These qualities shape experiences, which in turn shape lives. Even the obstacles a person faces are meant to mold him/her and add character. Genetic engineering, however, removes some of these obstacles. Like in Gattaca, people would conceivably become an unthinking mass following the world’s plan of their lives, not their own. Today, however, people are not an unthinking mass, and we live in a society where everyone can become involved in social and political issues.

With genetic engineering on the horizon, society needs to take a firm grasp on this ethics and ask what it truly wants. Ethical questions are constantly being asked, yet no one wants to face the issues at hand. People are so concerned with pleasing the majority that no one wants to take responsibility. If no one speaks up, though, scientists will continue blindly down an uncertain path. The problem here is that technology is so preoccupied with whether it can, that it never even considers whether it should. Take, for example, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Greg Egan’s The Extra.

In Frankenstein, the narrator, Robert Walton, believes that “one man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which [he] sought” (Shelley, 1991, 13). Victor Frankenstein reminds Walton that he was once nave in this statement and proceeds to tell him how his own actions had led to a “hell within [him] which nothing could extinguish” (Shelley, 1991, p. 72). Genetic engineering has acquired this same navet and society could be blinded to the possible consequences if something is not done.

The risks alone are too overpowering to ignore. As in the case of cloning Dolly, it took 277 tries to produce her, and scientists produced many lambs with abnormalities. The techniques are extremely risky and “more often than not unsuccessful” (Baker, 2001). Risks, however, are not the only concern. Societal abuse of genetic engineering also needs to be a great consideration. With all of the possibilities genetic engineering provides, exploitation of its purposes is bound to occur. The Extras, by Greg Egan, examines such abuse.

The main character, Daniel Gray, has created a produce line of genetically engineered humans that lack any form of intelligence. Their only purpose on is to serve as organ donors for their owner. In essence, genetic engineering has become a fixation of indulgence: “The prospect of living for centuries seemed to have made the rich greedier than ever; a fortune that sufficed for seven or eight decades was no longer enough” (Egan, 2001, p. 47). With this kind of thinking, society would become what Thomas Hobbes describes as “a condition of war of every one against every one” (Hobbes, 2001, p. ).

Abuse of genetic engineering could lead people to forget any sort of compassion and humanity because they are living only for themselves. Charles Darwin even states, “Man selects only for his own good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends” (Darwin, 2001, p. 3). It is human tendency to try to obtain the best of everything. However, as society takes on nature’s responsibility of natural selection, Darwin points out that man does not discern between desire and necessity.

Genetic engineering would become that of selfishness and personal gain. In The Extras, Gray even admits, “In the end it came down to longevity, and the hope of immorality” (Egan, 2001, p. 54). Nothing is more self-seeking than the aspiration for eternal life, and with genetic engineering, it could certainly become a possibility. Genetic engineering is indeed a large step into the future of mankind, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. Lives will be saved, diseases will be cured, and new information will be available for all who need it.

It is society’s choice, however, whether to embrace it and continue, or look deeper into the future consequences before rushing headlong into the unknown. We hold the future in our hands and do not want to look back upon our creations as Victor Frankenstein did: “I ardently wished to extinguish that life which I had so thoughtlessly bestowed” (Shelley, 1991, p. 76). The future is now, and it is society’s task to view the prejudicial and ethical issues concerning genetic engineering carefully. “We have landed on the naked shores of the brave new world, and we need to plan for the future we wish to create” (Bier, 2001, p. 78).

Genetic Engineering Essay

For many years, man has been advancing his race through technology. Many things through those were questionable and questionable, but none are close to a certain technology today. And that would be genetic engineering. What exactly is genetic engineering? To put it shortly, it is where scientists splice, alter, and manipulate genes of one thing to how the scientist want it, and even insert that gene into a foreign host. This technological tool is too powerful for us to handle. It is advancing faster than we can expect.

Because of this fact, genetic engineering raises many moral and ethical issues while also showing signs of any dangers. This controversially technology could be looked at two ways, one religiously and the other, scientifically and economically. First, lets talk a religious point of view on genetic engineering. With the current knowledge we have today in genetic engineering, life can easily be created and manipulated to ones liking. How can one Play God by creating and altering life at ones will and not at all feel guilty?

Havent we learned that trying to be on a level as God is a punishable act? Such examples are ones such as the destruction of Babylon. People at that time tried to build a tower high enough o reach God, but it was destroyed, a punishment by God that warned us of what will happen if we tried to get powerful as him. People say that God gave us the knowledge to discover. If this is so, did God give us the knowledge to make the atom bomb so we could wipe out cities and vast lives in an instant? Did God give us the knowledge to make deadly biological weapons to kill each other with?

And did God give us the knowledge to be so advance in warfare today that the world could be destroyed in minutes? God did not give us the knowledge to do these things or for genetic engineering. Man ignorantly chooses his own way and hooses to venture out doing things that are wrong. So who are we to decide what sex a baby should be, how it should look, and what skills it might have? These are just few of the many questions raised in a religious point of view. Next, is the scientific and economical view. One goal of genetic engineering is to make products more efficient.

Things such as crops and other plants are one of the things that have been experimented on and even released into the environment. This is especially dangerous because scientists are not fully sure of what could go wrong. A genetically altered crop or plant could become dominant and take ver all of the its like species and become a problem such as becoming major pests. There have been many cases where non-indigenous plants introduced into a different environment served no use and became major pest problems. But even more dangerous altered plants are genetically altered humans.

The functions of all the genes are not known, only these of a very small percentage of the total genes in organisms such as humans. So why would a scientist take a risk, not knowing the full potential dangers it might cause, such as having an effect on other genes? Privacy is another major concern. What if a sing drop of a ersons blood could reveal all the faults of that person? When will we wake up in a world where everyone has permanent records of what defect will come up in their lifetime and what other things they are susceptible of getting.

What if insurance companies got hold of these records? Could people be refused of health insurance because of these facts? There are many examples where people have been refused of some health care because of genetic screening. Not only that, in a recent poll in Time magazine, a question was asked if a person whose genetic profile shows potential problems pay higher health-insurance rates than someone hose profile does not? Only 8 % answered yes while the majority 88% said no. Obviously even the majority of this nation does not want to be genetically profiled.

One recent controversy that has come up is cloning. With some DNA of an organism, scientists are able to make and exact copy of that organism. A sheep and a monkey have already been successfully cloned, and with the current technology, humans could also be cloned. This raises the most ethical and moral issues because many questions would be raised about the clone. What will be the purpose of making exact human copies? We might even get to a point where humans re cloned for specific duties or even cloned for body parts needed by organ recipients.

Would rights would that clone have? Maybe the same as everyone or maybe not. Again, this is something that we as humans should never experiment with or even attempt. To conclude, genetic engineering is a tool that is too powerful for any man to handle. It is too dangerous and crosses many moral and ethical issues. Do we want to perfect ourselves to immortality? Such things are not meant to be handled by mere mortals such as us. We should let nature take its course as it has been for over many successful generations.

Genetic Engineering Paper

Science is a creature that continues to evolve at a much higher rate than the beings that gave it birth. The transformation time from tree-shrew, to ape, to human far exceeds the time from analytical engine, to calculator, to computer. But science, in the past, has always remained distant. It has allowed for advances in production, transportation, and even entertainment, but never in history will science be able to as deeply affect our lives as genetic engineering will undoubtedly do. With the birth of this new technology, scientific extremists and anti- technologists have risen in arms to block its budding future.

Spreading fear by misinterpretation of facts, they promote their hidden agendas in the halls of the United States congress. Genetic engineering is a safe and powerful tool that will yield unprecedented results, specifically in the field of medicine. It will usher in a world where gene defects, bacterial disease, and even aging are a thing of the past. By understanding genetic engineering and its history, discovering its possibilities, and answering the moral and safety questions it brings forth, the blanket of fear covering this remarkable technical miracle can be lifted.

The first step to understanding genetic engineering, and embracing its possibilities for society, is to obtain a rough knowledge base of its history and method. The basis for altering the evolutionary process is dependant on the understanding of how individuals pass on characteristics to their offspring. Genetics achieved its first foothold on the secrets of nature’s evolutionary process when an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel developed the first “laws of heredity. ” Using these laws, scientists studied the characteristics of organisms for most of the next one hundred years following Mendel’s discovery.

These early studies concluded that each organism has two sets of character determinants, or genes (Stableford 16). For instance, in regards to eye color, a child could receive one set of genes from his father that were encoded one blue, and the other brown. The same child could also receive two brown genes from his mother. The conclusion for this inheritance would be the child has a three in four chance of having brown eyes, and a one in three chance of having blue eyes (Stableford 16). Genes are transmitted through chromosomes which reside in the nucleus of every living organism’s cells.

Each chromosome is made up of fine strands of deoxyribonucleic acids, or DNA. The information carried on the DNA determines the cells function within the organism. Sex cells are the only cells that contain a complete DNA map of the organism, therefore, “the structure of a DNA molecule or combination of DNA molecules determines the shape, form, and function of the [organism’s] offspring (Lewin 1). DNA discovery is attributed to the research of three scientists, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and James Dewey Watson in 1951.

They were all later accredited with the Nobel Price in physiology and medicine in 1962 (Lewin 1). “The new science of genetic engineering aims to take a dramatic short cut in the slow process of evolution” (Stableford 25). In essence, scientists aim to remove one gene from an organism’s DNA, and place it into the DNA of another organism. This would create a new DNA strand, full of new encoded instructions; a strand that would have taken Mother Nature millions of years of natural selection to develop. Isolating and removing a desired gene from a DNA strand involves many different tools.

DNA can be broken up by exposing it to ultra-high- frequency sound waves, but this is an extremely inaccurate way of isolating a desirable DNA section (Stableford 26). A more accurate way of DNA splicing is the use of “restriction enzymes, which are produced by various species of bacteria” (Clarke 1). The restriction enzymes cut the DNA strand at a particular location called a nucleotide base, which makes up a DNA molecule. Now that the desired portion of the DNA is cut out, it can be joined to another strand of DNA by using enzymes called ligases.

The final important step in the creation of a new DNA strand is giving it the ability to self-replicate. This can be accomplished by using special pieces of DNA, called vectors, that permit the generation of multiple copies of a total DNA strand and fusing it to the newly created DNA structure. Another newly developed method, called polymerase chain reaction, allows for faster replication of DNA strands and does not require the use of vectors (Clarke 1). The possibilities of genetic engineering are endless.

Once the power to control the nstructions, given to a single cell, are mastered anything can be accomplished. For example, insulin can be created and grown in large quantities by using an inexpensive gene manipulation method of growing a certain bacteria. This supply of insulin is also not dependant on the supply of pancreatic tissue from animals. Recombinant factor VIII, the blood clotting agent missing in people suffering from hemophilia, can also be created by genetic engineering. Virtually every person who was treated with factor VIII before 1985 acquired HIV, and later AIDS.

Being completely pure, the bioengineered version of factor VIII eliminates any possibility of viral infection. Other uses of genetic engineering include creating disease resistant crops, formulating milk from cows already containing pharmaceutical compounds, generating vaccines, and altering livestock traits (Clarke 1). In the not so distant future, genetic engineering will become a principal player in fighting genetic, bacterial, and viral disease, along with controlling aging, and providing replaceable parts for humans. Medicine has seen many new innovations in its history.

The discovery of anesthetics permitted the birth of modern surgery, while the production of antibiotics in the 1920s minimized the threat from diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and cholera. The creation of serums which build up the bodys immune system to specific infections, before being laid low with them, has also enhanced modern medicine greatly (Stableford 59). All of these discoveries, however, will fall under the broad shadow of genetic engineering when it reaches its apex in the medical community. Many people suffer from genetic diseases ranging from thousands of types of cancers, to blood, liver, and lung disorders.

Amazingly, all of these will be able to be treated by genetic engineering, specifically, gene therapy. The basis of gene therapy is to supply a functional gene to cells lacking that particular function, thus correcting the genetic disorder or disease. There are two main categories of gene therapy: germ line therapy, or altering of sperm and egg cells, and somatic cell therapy, which is much like an organ transplant. Germ line therapy results in a permanent change for the entire organism, and its future offspring. Unfortunately, germ line therapy is not readily in use on humans for ethical reasons.

However, this genetic method could, in the future, solve many genetic birth defects such as downs syndrome. Somatic cell therapy deals with the direct treatment of living tissues. Scientists, in a lab, inject the tissues with the correct, functioning gene and then re-administer them to the patient, correcting the problem (Clarke 1). Along with altering the cells of living tissues, genetic engineering has also proven xtremely helpful in the alteration of bacterial genes. “Transforming bacterial cells is easier than transforming the cells of complex organisms” (Stableford 34).

Two reasons are evident for this ease of manipulation: DNA enters, and functions easily in bacteria, and the transformed bacteria cells can be easily selected out from the untransformed ones. Bacterial bioengineering has many uses in our society; it can produce synthetic insulin, a growth hormone for the treatment of dwarfism and interferon for treatment of cancers and viral diseases (Stableford 34). Throughout the centuries disease has plagued the world, forcing everyone to take part in a virtual “lottery with the agents of death” (Stableford 59).

Whether viral or bacterial in nature, such diseases are currently combated with the application of vaccines and antibiotics. These treatments, however, contain many unsolved problems. The difficulty with applying antibiotics to destroy bacteria is that natural selection allows for the mutation of bacteria cells, sometimes resulting in mutant bacterium which is resistant to a particular antibiotic. This now indestructible bacterial pestilence wages havoc on the human body. Genetic engineering is conquering this medical dilemma by utilizing diseases that target bacterial organisms.

These diseases are viruses, named bacteriophages, “which can be produced to attack specific disease-causing bacteria” (Stableford 61). Much success has already been obtained by treating animals with a “phage” designed to attack the E. coli bacteria (Stableford 60). Diseases caused by viruses are much more difficult to control than those caused by bacteria. Viruses are not whole organisms, as bacteria are, and reproduce by hijacking the mechanisms of other cells. Therefore, any treatment designed to stop the virus itself, will also stop the functioning of its host cell.

A virus invades a host cell by piercing it at a site called a “receptor”. Upon attachment, the virus injects its DNA into the cell, coding it to reproduce more of the virus. After the virus is replicated millions of times over, the cell bursts and the new viruses are released to continue the cycle. The body’s natural defense against such cell invasion is to release certain proteins, called antigens, which “plug up” the receptor sites on healthy cells. This causes the foreign virus to not have a docking point on the cell.

This process, however, is slow and not effective against a new viral attack. Genetic engineering is improving the body’s defenses by creating pure antigens, or antibodies, in the lab for injection upon infection with a viral disease. This pure, concentrated antibody halts the symptoms of such a disease until the bodies natural defenses catch up. Future procedures may alter the very DNA of human cells, causing them to produce interferons. These interferons would allow the cell to be able determine if a foreign body bonding with it is healthy or a virus.

In effect, every cell would be able to recognize every type of virus and be immune to them all (Stableford 61). Current medical capabilities allow for the transplant of human organs, and even mechanical portions of some, such as the battery powered pacemaker. Current science can even re-apply fingers after they have been cut off in accidents, or attach synthetic arms and legs to allow patients to function normally in society. But would not it be incredibly convenient if the human body could simply regrow what it needed, such as a new kidney or arm? Genetic engineering can make this a reality.

Currently in the world, a single plant cell can differentiate into all the components of an original, complex organism. Certain types of salamanders can re-grow lost limbs, and some lizards can shed their tails when attacked and later grow them again. Evidence of regeneration is all around and the science of genetic engineering is slowly mastering its techniques. Regeneration in mammals is essentially a kind of “controlled cancer”, called a blastema. The cancer is deliberately formed at the regeneration site and then converted into a structure of functional tissues.

But before controlling the blastema is possible, “a detailed knowledge of the switching process by means of which the genes in the cell nucleus are selectively activated and deactivated” is needed (Stableford 90). To obtain proof that such a procedure is possible one only needs to examine an early embryo and realize that it knows whether to turn itself into an ostrich or a human. After learning the procedure to control and activate such regeneration, genetic engineering will be able to conquer such ailments as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other crippling diseases without grafting in new tissues.

The broader scope of this technique would allow the re-growth of lost limbs, repairing any damaged organs internally, and the production of spare organs by growing them externally (Stableford 90). Ever since biblical times the lifespan of a human being has been pegged at roughly 70 years. But is this number truly finite? In order to uncover the answer, knowledge of the process of aging is needed. A common conception is that the human body contains an internal biological clock which continues to tick for about 70 years, and then stops.

An alternate “watch” analogy could be that the human body contains a certain type of alarm clock, and after so many years, the alarm sounds and deterioration beings. With that frame of thinking, the human body does not begin to age until a particular switch is tripped. In essence, stopping this process would simply involve a means of never allowing the switch to be tripped. W. Donner Denckla, of the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, proposes the alarm clock theory is true.

He provides evidence for this statement by examining the similarities between normal aging and the symptoms of a hormonal deficiency disease associated with the thyroid gland. Denckla proposes that as we get older the pituitary gland begins to produce a hormone which blocks the actions of the thyroid hormone, thus causing the body to age and eventually die. If Denckla’s theory is correct, conquering aging would simply be a process of altering the pituitary’s DNA so it would never be allowed to release the aging hormone.

In the years to come, genetic engineering may finally defeat the most unbeatable enemy in the world, time (Stableford 94). The morale and safety questions surrounding genetic engineering currently cause this new science to be cast in a false light. Anti-technologists and political extremists spread false interpretation of facts coupled with statements that genetic engineering is not natural and defies the natural order of things. The morale question of biotechnology can be answered by studying where the evolution of man is, and where it is leading our society.

The safety question can be answered by examining current safety precautions in industry, and past safety records of many bioengineering projects already in place. The evolution of man can be broken up into three basic stages. The first lasting millions of years, slowly shaped human nature from Homo erectus to Home sapiens. Natural selection provided the means for countless random mutations resulting in the appearance of such human characteristics as hands and feet. The second stage, after the full development of the human body and mind, saw humans moving from wild foragers to agriculture based society.

Natural selection received a helping hand as man took advantage of random mutations in nature and bred more productive species of plants and animals. The most bountiful wheats were collected and re-planted, and the fastest horses were bred with equally faster horses. Even in our recent history the strongest black male slaves were mated with the hardest working female slaves. The third stage, still developing today, will not require the chance acquisition of super-mutations in nature. Man will be able to create such super-species without the strict limitations imposed by natural selection.

By examining the natural slope of this evolution, the third stage is a natural and inevitable plateau that man will achieve (Stableford 8). This omniscient control of our world may seem completely foreign, but the thought of the Egyptians erecting vast pyramids would have seemed strange to Homo erectus as well. Many claim genetic engineering will cause unseen disasters spiraling our world into chaotic darkness. However, few realize that many safety nets regarding bioengineering are already in effect.

The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) was formed under the National Institute of Health to provide guidelines for research on engineered bacteria for industrial use. The RAC has also set very restrictive guidelines requiring Federal approval if research involves pathogenicity (the rare ability of a microbe to cause disease) (Davis, Roche 69). “It is well established that most natural bacteria do not cause disease. After many years of experimentation, microbiologists have demonstrated that they can engineer bacteria that are just as safe as their natural counterparts” (Davis, Rouche 70).

In fact the RAC reports that “there has not been a single case of illness or harm caused by recombinant [engineered] bacteria, and they now are used safely in high school experiments” (Davis, Rouche 69). Scientists have also devised other methods of preventing bacteria from escaping their labs, such as modifying the bacteria so that it will die if it is removed from the laboratory environment. This creates a shield of complete safety for the outside world. It is also thought that if such bacteria were to escape it would act like smallpox or anthrax and ravage the land.

However, laboratory-created organisms are not as competitive as pathogens. Davis and Roche sum it up in extremely laymen’s terms, “no matter how much Frostban you dump on a field, it’s not going to spread” (70). In fact Frostbran, developed by Steven Lindow at the University of California, Berkeley, was sprayed on a test field in 1987 and was proven by a RAC committee to be completely harmless (Thompson 104). Fear of the unknown has slowed the progress of many scientific discoveries in the past.

The thought of man flying or stepping on the moon did not come easy to the average citizens of the world. But the fact remains; they were accepted and are now an everyday occurrence in our lives. Genetic engineering too is in its period of fear and misunderstanding, but like every great discovery in history, it will enjoy its time of realization and come into full use in society. The world is on the brink of the most exciting step into human evolution ever, and through knowledge and exploration, should welcome it and its possibilities with open arms.

The Cystic Fibrosis Gene

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited autosomal recessive disease that exerts its main effects on the digestive system and the lungs. This disease is the most common genetic disorder amongst Caucasians. Cystic fibrosis affects about one in 2,500 people, with one in twenty five being a heterozygote. With the use of antibiotics, the life span of a person afflicted with CF can be extended up to thirty years however, most die before the age of thirteen. 1 Since so many people are affected by this disease, it’s no wonder that CF was the first human genetic disease to be cloned by eneticists.

In this paper, I will be focusing on how the cystic fibrosis gene was discovered while at the same time, discussing the protein defect in the CF gene, the bio-chemical defect associated with CF, and possible treatments of the disease. Finding the Cystic Fibrosis Gene: The classical genetic approach to finding the gene that is responsible for causing a genetic disease has been to first characterize the bio-chemical defect within the gene, then to identify the mutated protein in the gene of interest, and finally to locate the actual gene.

However, this classical pproach proved to be impractical when searching for the CF gene. To find the gene responsible for CF, the principle of “reverse genetics” was applied. Scientists accomplished this by linking the disease to a specific chromosome. After this linkage, they isolated the gene of interest on the chromosome and then tested its product. 2 Before the disease could be linked to a specific chromosome, a marker needed to be found that would always travel with the disease. This marker is known as a Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism or RFLP for short.

RFLP’s are varying base sequences of DNA in different ndividuals which are known to travel with genetic disorders. 3 The RFLP for cystic fibrosis was discovered through the techniques of Somatic Cell Hybridization and through Southern Blot Electrophoresis (gel separation of DNA). By using these techniques, three RFLP’s were discovered for CF; Doc RI, J3. 11, and Met. Utilizing in situ hybridization, scientists discovered the CF gene to be located on the long arm of chromosome number seven.

Soon after identifying these markers, another marker was discovered that segregated more frequently with CF than the other markers. This meant the new marker was closer to the CF gene. At this time, two scientists named Lap-Chu Tsui and Francis Collins were able to isolate probes from the CF interval. They were now able to utilize to powerful technique of chromosome jumping to speed up the time required to isolate the CF gene much faster than if they were to use conventional genetic techniques.

In order to determine the exact location of the CF gene, probes were taken from the nucleotide sequence obtained from chromosome jumping. To get these probes, DNA from a horse, a cow, a chicken, and a mouse were separated using Southern Blot electrophoresis. Four probes were found to bind to all of the vertebrate’s DNA. This meant that the base pairs within the probes discovered contained important information, possibly even the gene. Two of the four probes were ruled out as possibilities because they did not contain open reading frames which are segments of DNA that produce the mRNA responsible for genes.

The Northern Blot electrophoresis technique was then used to distinguish between the two probes still remaining in order to find out which one actually contained the CF gene. This could be accomplished because Northern Blot lectrophoresis utilizes RNA instead of DNA. The RNA of cell types affected with CF, along with the RNA of unaffected cell types were placed on a gel. Probe number two bound to the RNA of affected cell types in the pancreas, colon, and nose, but did not bind to the RNA from non-affected cell types like those of the brain and heart.

Probe number one did not bind exclusively to cell types from CF affected areas like probe number two did. From this evidence, it was determined that probe number two contained the CF gene. While isolating the CF gene and screening the genetic ibrary made from mRNA (cDNA library), it was discovered that probe number two did not hybridize. The chances for hybridization may have been decreased because of the low levels of the CF gene present within the probe. Hybridization chances could also have been decreased because the cDNA used was not made from the correct cell type affected with CF.

The solution to this lack of hybridization was to produce a cDNA library made exclusively from CF affected cells. This new library was isolated from cells in sweat glands. By using this new cDNA library, probe number two was found to hybridize excessively. It was theorized that this success was due to the large amount of the CF gene present in the sweat glands, or the gene itself could have been involved in a large protein family. Nevertheless, the binding of the probe proved the CF gene was present in the specific sequence of nucleotide bases being analyzed.

The isolated gene was proven to be responsible for causing CF by comparing its base pair sequence to the base pair sequence of the same sequence in a non-affected cell. The entire CF cDNA sequence is approximately 6,000 nucleotides long. In those 6,000 n. t. ‘s, three base pairs were found to e missing in affected cells, all three were in exon #10. This deletion results in the loss of a phenylalanine residue and it accounts for seventy percent of the CF mutations.

In addition to this three base pair deletion pattern, up to 200 different mutations have been discovered in the gene accounting for CF, all to varying degrees. The Protein Defect: The Cystic Fibrosis gene is located at 7q31-32 on chromosome number seven and spans about 280 kilo base pairs of genomic DNA. It contains twenty four exons. 4 This gene codes for a protein involved in trans-membrane ion transport alled the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator or CFTR.

The 1,480 amino acid protein structure of CFTR closely resembles the protein structure of the ABC-transporter super family. It is made up of similar halves, each containing a nucleotide-binding fold (NBF), or an ATP-binding complex, and a membrane spanning domain (MSD). The MSD makes up the transmembrane Cl- channels. There is also a Regulatory Domain (R-Domain) that is located mid-protein which separates both halves of the channels. The R-Domain is unique to CFTR and is not found in any other ABC-transporter.

The history of DNA

The history of DNA use for forensic cases already spans more than a decade. The first cases into which DNA evidence was brought in were in England. The first case of using DNA-related evidence in Arizona courts was the 1988 murder of Jennifer Wilson by Richard Bible near Flagstaff. Blood found on the back of Bible’s plaid shirt was identified through DNA testing as Jennifer’s blood — with a probability of 14 billion-to-1. Bible was subsequently convicted. This conviction was upheld unanimously by the Arizona Supreme Court.

This together with other legal opinions elsewhere have paved the way for further use of DNA-related evidence in trials. National and international scrutiny of this method has occurred during the OJ Simpson trial in the mid-nineties. While many uncertainties may remain after the trial, the admissibility and validity of DNA evidence in courts has clearly been established. DNA fingerprinting can also be utilized to solve paternity questions. In one case it was even found that the child of whom the father was in dispute was not the biological son of his mother.

It was suspected that an inadvertant swap of kids had occurred in the hospital. In another case, upon in-vitro fertilization sperm vials appeared to have been swapped and a baby could be shown to have a biological father different from the spouse of his mother. Underlying today’s debate was the case of Earl Washington Jr. , who nearly was executed for his conviction in the 1982 rape and murder of a Culpeper woman. Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R) pardoned him of that crime in October after new DNA testing found no trace of him at the scene.

Now as another century nears a close, DNA fingerprinting is extending the reach of forensic investigation. Twelve years after first being introduced in the courtroom, genetic profiling is playing an increasingly critical role in a wide range of investigations. Consider this: a DNA analysis of saliva from an envelope flap sealed the circumstantial case against World Trade Center bombing suspect Nidal Ayyad. A year ago, it was the DNA on Monica Lewinskys blue dress that pushed President Clinton to admit an inappropriate relationship with the former White House intern.

And most recently, authorities are using DNA testing to try to tie alleged Railway Killer Angel Maturino Resendiz to several slayings around the country. DNA evidence could help rewrite criminal history. Boston police hope that DNA samples will help them prove once and for all whether Albert DeSalvo really was the Boston Strangler. Convicted Atlanta child killer Wayne Williams and Jeffrey MacDonald the former Green Beret convicted of killing his family in the Fatal Vision murders are also pinning their hopes for freedom on DNA evidence.

They say the genetic testing will prove that theyre innocent. A Powerful Tool Instead of relying solely on intact fingerprints to identify suspects, scientists now use deoxyribonucleic acid, more widely known as DNA, which contains chemical building blocks that vary from person to person, to identify individuals with virtual certainty. The latest technology can create a genetic profile of a suspect using only the saliva left on an envelope or a hair in a victims hand.

The FBI is currently in the process of building a national databank of DNA profiles similar in scope to its national fingerprint file. Although only 14 states are now linked to the national database, the FBI aims to link all the states in a year or so. Already, all 50 states collect DNA samples from convicted sex offenders. Some states collect DNA from all violent convicts, and four others collect samples from all felons. And the science isnt just putting criminals away. So far, DNA evidence has exonerated scores of wrongly convicted defendants.

The Innocence Project, a program run by defense lawyers Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck that challenges convictions with DNA evidence, has helped free more than three dozen people from prison. Warming Cold Cases DNA samples have helped solve crimes that had no other investigative leads. During the last six months in Virginia alone, DNA has helped solve 33 rape and murder cases that previously had no suspects. But the crime-solving potential of DNA is nowhere near being maximized by the states due to limitations in staffing and resources, some say.

We have only scratched the surface in using this application, says Paul Ferrara, the director of the Virginia Division of Forensic Science. I foresee, in the next couple years, that police will routinely collect the most minute pieces of evidence from a crime scene, evidence smaller than the naked eye can even detect and see, bring it to a lab and a few hours later walk away with the name of the perpetrator. And the future holds promise of even more effective DNA technology. The San Diego-based company Nanogen is developing a device to allow police to perform DNA analyses right at a crime scene.

A DNA sample can be placed in the device, about the size of a 3 x 5-index card, analyzed on the spot and computer-checked against profiles in a remote database. The device could be in police cars within two years. While the science of DNA profiling is now almost unquestioned even by its opponents how genetic information is collected and stored is the subject of much debate. Many civil libertarians and bioethicists express concern about the widespread collection of genetic information. What will the information be used for? Who will have access to the information?

Does it constitute unreasonable search and seizure? Further, as states grapple with an overwhelming backlog of DNA samples 1. 5 million felons are not yet in the databanks politicians must decide how much resources should be dedicated to fulfilling the goal of a national DNA network. Next up, ABCNEWS. com takes a look at the ethical debate over the role of DNA testing in solving crimes. Close Call From the moment the town of Vincennes, Ind. , learned of the brutal rape and slaying of college student Brook Elizabeth Baker in September 1997, a cloud of suspicion hung over her landlord Mike Nardine.

University students told television reporters that they believed the 45-year-old campus police officer was guilty. A psychic on a nationally-broadcast television talk show told the audience that the landlord did it. The town that has been home to three generations of Nardines became increasingly hostile. Although no charges had been filed against him, Nardine felt the stares and heard the whispers of his neighbors. For almost two years, he waited for police to make an arrest in the case. Nardine cooperated with investigators and even offered his DNA for testing.

But it wasnt until another student was killed that police apprehended a former college student and connected his DNA to the Baker crime scene. Just this month, the former student was arrested, and at least for now, Nardine has been removed from the suspect list. Without the DNA, I always thought there might have been the possibility that I could have been charged, Nardine said. I know people are in prison today who have probably not done the crime but have been blackballed. I was thankful there was DNA. You just dont know what could have happened.

Genetic Engineering Paper

Genes, or chromosomes, are often referred to as “blueprints” which are passed down from generation to generation. From the study of these hereditary materials, scientists have ventured into the recent, and rather controversial, field of genetic engineering. It is described as the “artificial modification of the genetic code of a living organism”, and involves the “manipulation and alteration of inborn characteristics” by humans. Like many other issues, genetic engineering has sparked a heated debate.

Some people believe that it has the potential to become the new “miracle tool” of medicine. “Advances in the field of genetic engineering could mean progress on an unprecedented scale for all civilization” – Gail Dutton To others, this new technology borders on the realm of immorality, and is an omen of the danger to come.

They are firmly convinced that this human intervention into nature is unethical, and will bring about the destruction of mankind. ” the promise of genetic engineering as a tool of medicine is matched only by the threat it would pose to human society and civilization. Ann E. Weiss Rapid advances in medical science have fuelled the question of bioethics.

However, as science takes leaps and bounds towards its goals, ethics are often just learning how to crawl. In fact, it has even suffered major backslides in some cases. Genetic engineering “raises serious ethical questions about the right of human beings to alter life on the planet”. Changing the basic physical traits of an organism can lead to an unprecedented threat to life on the planet”. With such dire consequences, where do we draw the line?

What View Does Science Have on Genetic Engineering? For the first time in history, evolution has taken a backseat to the meddling of humankind with their own genetic makeup. There is an “ongoing realization that humanity is capable of directly shaping its own and other species evolution”. As we ease into the twenty-first century, we realize that genetic engineering is undoubtedly going to have a dramatic effect on our lives. It seems that “with genetic engineering, science has moved from exploring the natural world and its mechanisms to redesigning it.

Now, we must ask ourselves this, will that influence be for better, or for worse? However, even the responses of science differ in this topic. Scientists remain divided in their opinions. Some have warned against the hazards of genetic engineering, while others have dismissed these perils as inconsequential. Two opposing viewpoints, which is right? Lewis Wolpert, professor of biology as applied to medicine at University College London, says that, “There are no ethical issues because you are not doing any harm to anyone.

And indeed, the gist of his statement is staunchly supported by James Watson, a Nobel Prize winner and president of Cold Spring Habour Laboratory. “If we can make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldnt we do it? The biggest ethical problem is not using our knowledge. ” They are both extremely critical of excuses that genetic engineering is a bad idea. Are they absolutely right? Are the predictions of “doomsday” just insubstantial bits of fluff with no proof to support these claims? Are we truly so confident as to proceed with no holds barred?

Both scientists seem not to have the slightest bit of anxiety regarding potential glitches. They have found a fascinating “playground” in genetic engineering, and appears that it is not only a way for them to earn their livelihood, but also gain fame and fortune. Is their attitude towards this serious issue too cavalier or biased? Are they too unclear about the likelihood of threats to civilization? In contrast, two other prominent scientists have displayed their displeasure about genetic engineering. They have made no secret of the rather strong feelings against genetic engineering.

George Wald, Nobel Prize-winning biologist and Harvard professor, wrote: “Recombinant DNA technology [genetic engineering] faces our society with problems unprecedented not only in the history of science, but of life on the Earth. It places in human hands the capacity to redesign living organisms, the products of some three billion years of evolution. It is all too big and is happening too fast. So this, the central problem, remains almost unconsidered. It presents probably the largest ethical problem that science has ever had to face.

Our morality up to now has been to go ahead without restriction to learn all that we can about nature. Restructuring nature was not part of the bargain For going ahead in this direction may be not only unwise but dangerous. Potentially, it could breed new animal and plant diseases, new sources of cancer, novel epidemics. ” Erwin Chargoff, an eminent geneticist who is sometimes called the father of modern microbiology too echoed Walds concerns. He commented: “The principle question to be answered is whether we have the right to put an additional fearful load on generations not yet born.

Our time is cursed with the necessity for feeble men, masquerading as experts, to make enormously far-reaching decisions. Is there anything more far-reaching than the creation of forms of life? You can stop splitting the atom; you can stop visiting the moon; you can stop using aerosols; you may even decide not to kill entire populations by the use of a few bombs. But you cannot recall a new form of life. An irreversible attack on the biosphere is something so unheard-of, so unthinkable to previous generations, that I could only wish that mine had not been guilty of it.

Have we the right to counteract, irreversibly, the evolutionary wisdom of millions of years, in order to satisfy the ambition and curiosity of a few scientists? This world is given to us on loan. We come and we go; and after a time we leave earth and air and water to others who come after us. My generation, or perhaps the one preceding mine, has been the first to engage, under the leadership of the exact sciences, in a destructive colonial warfare against nature. The future will curse us for it. ” What is the Stand of the Catholic Church?

For some Catholics, their stand on genetic engineering is steadfast, but rigid. For them, “God alone is the master of human life and of its integrity”, and in this belief, their only viable course of though is to be “wary of the potential of genetic engineering for fundamentally altering Gods sacred creation. ” They seem to leave no room for the possibility that there might be a whole new viewpoint to this. In his 1983 address to members of the World Medical Association, Pope John Paul II, as the representative of the Catholic Church, shed some light on the topic from a different perspective.

He did not refute the blatantly true statement that God is the “creator of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen”, nor did he deny that “medicine is an eminent, essential form of service to mankind. ” However, he hastened to add, “the extraordinary and rapid advance of medical science entails frequent rethinking of its deontology. ” Pope John Paul II touched on three major points: the respect for life, the unity of the human being and the rights of the human being. These key factors contribute to the concept of the fundamental rights of man and the dignity of humankind.

Also, is there the realization that while evolution is inevitable, genetic manipulation poses “a serious question to every individuals moral conscience. ” In his words, “A strictly therapeutic intervention will, in principle, be considered desirable, provided it is directed to the true promotion of the personal well-being of man and does not infringe on his integrity or worsen his conditions of life. Such an intervention, indeed, would fall within the logic of the Christian moral tradition. But here the question returns.

Indeed, it is of great interest to know if an intervention on genetic inheritance that goes beyond the limits of the therapeutic in the strict sense should be regarded likewise as morally acceptable. In particular, this kind of intervention must not infringe on the origin of human life. It must, consequently, respect the fundamental dignity of men and the common biological nature which is at the base of liberty, avoiding manipulations that tend to modify genetic inheritance and to create groups of different men at the risk of causing new cases of marginalization in society.

Moreover, the fundamental attitudes that inspire the interventions of which we are speaking should not flow from a racist and materialist mentality aimed at a human well-being that is, in reality, reductionist. The dignity of man transcends his biological condition. Genetic manipulation becomes arbitrary and unjust when it reduces life to an object; when it forgets that it is dealing with a human subject, capable of intelligence and freedom, worthy of respect whatever may be their limitations. Or when it treats this person in terms of criteria not founded on the integral reality of the human person, at the risk of infringing upon his dignity

Scientific and technical progress, whatever it be, must then maintain the greatest respect for the moral values that constitute a safeguard for the dignity of the human person. And because, in the order of medical values, life is the supreme and the most radical good of man, there must be a fundamental principle: first oppose everything harmful, then seek out and pursue the good. To tell the truth, the expression “genetic manipulation” remains ambiguous and should constitute an object of true moral discernment.

It covers, on the one hand, adventuresome endeavors aimed at promoting I know not what kind of superman and, on the other hand, desirable and salutary interventions aimed at the correction of anomalies such as certain hereditary illnesses. Not to mention, of course, the beneficent applications in the domains of animal and vegetable biology that favor food production. For these last cases, some are beginning to speak, of “genetic surgery,” so as to show more clearly that medicine intervenes not in order to modify nature but to favor its development in its own life, that of the creation, as intended by God. “

Haemophilia – Hereditary Disorder

In the human body, each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, one of each pair inherited through the egg from the mother, and the other inherited through the sperm of the father. Of these chromosomes, those that determine sex are X and Y. Females have XX and males have XY. In addition to the information on sex, ‘the X chromosomes carry determinants for a number of other features of the body including the levels of factor VIII and factor IX. ‘1 If the genetic information determining the factor VIII and IX level is defective, haemophilia results.

When this happens, the protein factors needed for normal blood clotting are effected. In males, the single X chromosome that is effected cannot compensate for the lack, and hence will show the defect. In females, however, only one of the two chromosomes will be abnormal. (unless she is unlucky enough to inherit haemophilia from both sides of the family, which is rare. )2 The other chromosome is likely to be normal and she can therefore compensate for this defect. There are two types of haemophilia, haemophilia A and B.

Haemophilia A is a hereditary disorder in which bleeding is due to deficiency of the coagulation factor VIII (VIII:C)3. In most of the cases, this coagulant protein is reduced ut in a rare amount of cases, this protein is present by immunoassay but defective. Haemophilia A is the most common severe bleeding disorder and approximately 1 in 10,000 males is effected. The most common types of bleeding are into the joints and muscles. Haemophilia is severe if the factor VIII:C levels are less that 1 %, they are moderate if the levels are 1-5% and they are mild if they levels become 5+%.

Those with mild haemophilia bleed only in response to major trauma or surgery. As for the patients with severe haemophilia, they can bleed in response to relatively mild trauma and will bleed spontaneously. In haemophiliacs, the levels of the factor VIII:C are reduced. If the plasma from a haemophiliac person mixes with that of a normal person, the Partial thromboplastin time (PTT) should become normal. Failure of the PTT to become normal is automatically diagnostic of the presence of a factor VIII inhibitor.

The standard treatment of the haemophiliacs is primarily the infusion of factor VIII concentrates, now heat-treated to reduce the chances of transmission of AIDS. 6 In the case of minor bleeding, the factor VIII:C levels should only be raised to 25% with one infusion. For moderate bleeding, ‘it is dequate to raise the level initially to 50% and maintain the level at greater that 25% with repeated infusion for 2-3 days. When major surgery is to be performed, one raises the factor VIII:C level to 100% and then maintains the factor level at greater than 50% continuously for 10-14 days.

Haemophilia B, the other type of haemophilia, is a result of the deficiency of the coagulation factor IX – also known as Christmas disease. This sex-linked disease is caused by the reduced amount of the factor IX. Unlike haemophilia A, the percentage of it’s occupance due to an abnormally unctioning molecule is larger. The factor IX deficiency is 1/7 as common as factor VIII deficiency and it is managed with factor VIII concentrates. Unlike factor VIII concentrates which have a half-life of 12 hours, the half-life of factor IX concentrates is 18 hours.

In addition, factor IX concentrates contain a number of other proteins, including activated coagulating factors that contribute to a risk of thrombosis. Therefore, more care is needed in haemophilia B to decide on how much concentration should be used. The prognosis of the haemophiliac patients has been transformed by the vailability of factor VIII and factor IX replacement. The limiting factors that result include disability from recurrent joint bleeding and viral infections such as hepatitis B from recurrent transfusion.

Since most haemophiliacs are male and only their mother can pass to them the deficient gene, a very important issue for the families of haemophiliacs now is identifying which females are carriers. One way to determine this is to estimate the amount of factor VIII and IX present in the woman. However, while a low level confirms the carrier status, a normal level does not exclude it. In addition, the factor VIII and IX blood levels are known to fluctuate in people and will increase with stress and pregnancy. As a result, only a prediction of the carrier status can be given with this method.

Another method to determine the carrier status in a woman is to look directly at the DNA from a small blood sample of several members of the family including the haemophiliacs. In Canada, modern operations include Chorionic Villous Sampling (CVS) and it helps analyze the DNA for markers of haemophilia at 9-11 weeks of pregnancy. (Fig. 1)9 A small probe is inserted through the eck of the mother womb or through the abdomen under local anaesthetics. A tiny sample from the placenta is removed and sent for DNA analysis.

Since this process can be done at 9-11 weeks after pregnancy, the pregnancy is in it’s relatively early stages and a decision by the mother (and father) to terminate the pregnancy will not be as physically or emotionally demanding on the mother than if she had it performed in the late stages of the pregnancy. Going back to the haemophiliacs, many have become seropositive for HIV infections transmitted through factor VIII and IX concentrates and many have developed AIDS. In Canada, the two drugs currently undergoing clinical testing for treatment of HIV disease are AZT and DDI.

For the use of AZT, the major complication is suppression of normal bone marrow activity. This results in low red and white blood cell counts. The former can lead to severe fatigue and the latter to susceptibility to infections. 10 DDI is provided as a powder, which must be reconstructed with water immediately prior to use. The most common adverse effect so far is the weakness in the hands and legs. However, it appears that DDI is free of the bone marrow. 11 AZT and DDI both represent the first eneration of anti-retroviral drug and it is the hope of many people that they will be followed by less toxic and more effective drugs.

As it can be seen, haemophilia is one of those sex-linked diseases that must involve the inheritance of both recessive and deficient chromosomes. It is mostly found in males and since every male has a Y chromosome, it is a general rule that the male will not pass it to his male offsprings. Haemophiliacs can have either inherited the disease or they could have had a mutation. In either case, these people must try to live a normal life and must avoid any activities that can result in trauma.

Genetics Has Become A Leading Science

Over the past several years Genetics has become a leading link to understanding how our body works. By mapping out deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, scientists plan to find cures for various diseases, develop better, more efficient drugs, grow new organs, evaluate environment hazards, and eventually build a human being. Inside of every single cell in our bodies there are 46 chromosomes that are made up of DNA. Half of your chromosomes are inherited from each parent, DNA is strung along the chromosomes. DNA is the living instructional manual found in all living organisms.

The building block letters of DNA are Adenine, (A), Thymine, (T), Cytosine, C), and Guanine, (G). These are repeated over and over again about 3 billion times in our body alone. DNA can be subdivided into genes, with each gene carrying the information on how to produce a unique protein. Each gene consists of three of the building blocks placed together. Along the stretches of DNA, genes tend to occur in clusters, like cities separated by vast emptiness. When the DNA is collected all together you have a genome.

In the past scientists believed that there was more than 100,000 genes in the human genome, but recent studies by Celera Genomics and many other scientist based eams, have found that the number of genes to be 35,000. (Article #1) This new found information has made some biologists ecstatic and has wounded the pride of others. There are many people who are bothered by the fact that they dont seem to have (many) more than twice as many genes as a fruit fly, said Eric Lander, director of the Whitehead Institute Center for Genome Research.

It seems to be some kind of affront to human dignity. The 30,000 genes in our body compared to the 13,600 in the fruit fly does seem to raise questions about why we have the abilities to do so much more when we dont ave that many more genes in our genome. Even though all creatures share the same DNA code, some people still believe that there is a step-change between the rest of nature and humans that separates us from them.

The Human Genome Project, starting in the 1980s, is a research program designed to construct a detailed genetic and physical map of the human genome, determine the complete sequence of human DNA, localize 30,000 to 35,000 genes, and perform similar analysis on the genomes of several other organisms. Every species has its own genome. Every individual animal within a species has its very own specific genome. Unless you are an identical twin your genome is different from everyone on earth – and from everyone who has ever lived.

Even though you have your own distinct genome, it is still recognizable as a human genome. Analyzing the human genome will give us insights into why people like the foods they do, why certain people die of heart disease and others of cancer, and why some people are outgoing and others are paralyzed by shyness. We will also be able to know what body shape your children will have, the number of calories they are able to burn off in rest, and the types of sports they will excel at and enjoy. Studying the genome can related to a number of things, you can study the whole genome, or only a small part.

You can study the sequence, or function of a specific gene. We are able to observe what happens when something goes wrong with a gene, and how it affects our life and body. Certain diseases are cause by mutations in a particular gene such as Blindness, cancers, bowl disorders, Leprosy, arthritis, Turners syndrome, Down Syndrome, and many other types of diseases. These genetic diseases are caused by changes (mutations) in the DNA sequence of a gene or a set of genes. This can happen at ny given time, from when we are a single cell to when we are close to 100 or older.

Some scientists believe that there are specific disorders genes that cause the disease, but it is a mutation that causes the normal genes to operate improperly. So to clarify all the mishap it is better to say that there are mutated genes that cause genetic disorders. In some diseases such as Down Syndrome and Turners Syndrome, entire chromosomes, or large segments of them, are missing, duplicated, or otherwise altered. Single-Gene disorders result when a mutation causes the product of a single gene to be altered or missing.

Sickle-cell Anemia is an example of this type of disorder. Mutations in the beta-globin gene cause the blood cells to become distorted and take on a sickle shape. This makes traveling through the blood vessels hard and they begin to clog in the narrow passages, causing various problems within the body depending on where the clog is at. Multifactorial disorders result from mutations in multiple genes, often coupled with environmental causes. The complicated bases of these diseases make them strenuous to study and treat.

Some examples of this type of disorder are heart disorders, diabetes, and cancers. Certain kinds of thyroid cancers are accumulated by malfunctioning genes, such as Familial papillary thyroid cancer, and Medullary thyroid cancer (Article #5). Cancer is caused by certain changes in our DNA sequence. But cancer is not developed by one mutated gene, its the accumulation of many defected genes. This can happen through inheritance of mutations or addition of new mutations during the life span of an organism.

Additions of new mutations can come from exposure to the sun, UV rays, infection by certain viruses, spontaneous mutations and changes in copying the DNA during the aging process. The genetic basis of cancer is possible by the cancerous cell dividing at inappropriate times. This could mean that the cells either do not receive the signal to stop dividing or they do not require outside signals to start dividing, so they divide when they feel like it. When cancerous cells come in contact with other neighboring cells they do not stop dividing like normal cells do, but they pile up and form a tumor.

Cancerous cells also have the ability to invade healthy tissue, leading to the spread of cancer throughout the body. Scientists were able to pin down the exact gene that is responsible for prompting eoples internal wake-up alarms. A mutation in this gene can cause the person to wake up at very inappropriate times and causes them to become tried in the middle of the afternoon. The mutation was found in the human Per2 gene on Chromosome 2. This is common to many people the statistics show 1 in every 10,000 all the way up to 1 in every 100,000 people.

There are a large quantity of people that dont realize that it is a disorder so they never come in for treatment (Article #3) Colourblindness is another of the many generic disorders. It is found in the X chromosomes which is passed down from the female, never the male. If a woman with the gene that entitles Colourblindness has a girl, the X chromosome of the baby will cancel out the colourblind chromosome (X) a majority of the time. There is a slim chance that when the X chromosome of the baby is weak the colourblind X will prevail and the girl will be born colourblind.

Females are the only carriers of this generic trait, very rarely does a female get the trait. If that same woman were to have a boy, the X chromosome will predominate the Y chromosome and the boy will indefinitely be colourblind. The ratios of this disease are very different for men and women, 1 in 12 for men, and 1 in 250 for omen. Inherited genetic mutations arise about twice as often in men as in women (Article #6) Scientists have found that a retinal gene appears to be responsible for at least some of the cases of macular degeneration, or blindness.

The gene, which plays a role in the metabolization of a fatty acid called DHA, has become defective and does not perform its assignment accordingly. This suggests that people with the defected genes may have trouble using the fatty acid in normal cell mechanisms. This leads to the deterioration of the macula, a central part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision. The loss of this ision limits what a person can do, such as driving which is no longer acceptable, they have trouble reading, and they lose all peripheral vision. This defective gene is past down from generation to generation.

To help cut back on the problems that can be caused by eating foods that are high in DHA, such as salmon, shellfish, eggs, tuna, liver, and many more (Article #2) The entire genetic sequence of the disease labeled Leprosy has been deciphered. This shows that with genetic sequencing of different organisms, such as the Leprosy Bacterium, is extremely helpful in finding new, efficient treatments and drugs. In the case f Leprosy it also help scientists to calculate how to grow the bacterium in a laboratory which was impossible up to now (Article #8).

Ankylosing Spondylitus, or spinal arthritis is also formed from gene mutation. The gene attacks the spine making it rigid as a poker, the extreme case, to just not allowing to move easily, the moderate case. With learning how the gene is able to make this happen we will be able to treat this, and maybe even cure it (Article #7). Other disorders are not caused by malfunctioning genes or abnormal chromosomes, but certain viruses can infect a gene and that gene will multiply with that nfections written in it. AIDS is a worthy example of this type of disorder or disease.

AIDS is cause by an infection with the HIV virus. The HIV virus infects an organism incorporating its own DNA into the chromosomes of the infected cell. When this cell divides, the viral DNA is inherited by all the daughter cells of the infected cell. So in a way the infected cell now has a genetic disorder, caused by the introduction of a new DNA into its chromosomes. The viral DNA will not transfer onto the next generation because the sperm and egg cells of the organism are not daughters of the infected cell. Scientists have recently been able to manipulate a skin cell to turn into heart tissue.

This can be radically helpful in the production of islet cells that produce insulin needed for diabetes. The scientists turned the clock back on the skin cells to produce stem cells, which have the ability to develop into any desired type of cell, from nerve to liver to muscle. Then they manipulate the stem cell to become a heart tissue. This could be a breakthrough for diabetic people, eliminating the daily insulin shots, and making live just a little it easier (Article #18). Tests with possible cures are been research continually, such as with tobacco plants that contain a human gene.

The gene interleukin10 can be massed produced to help treat bowl disorders. Using genes from other living organisms are growing more common in science (Article #4). To stop the wide shortage of organ transplants needed, scientists have started researching humanized pig organs. The birth of a litter of genetically modified pigs have started this research. Each of the pigs has a marker gene introduced into its genetic code. This produces a knock-out pig, where scientists will knock out the gene that leads o the human immune system.

This will eliminate the rejection of the pigs organs when placed in the human body. The process is called Xenotransplants, and it could start in as little as 4 years (Article #19) In the same sense scientists have been able to turn a plants leaves into petals, allowing nurseries to produce plants that bear flowers where leaves were. This is possible by five genes that are manipulated, either by traditional breeding, or by genetic engineering. Breeders will be able to make colourful double flowers in which stamens and leaves grow into petals and enhance the fragrance.

This not only could help the nurseries but the drug industry as well, by allowing them to grow greater quantities of therapeutic chemicals that come from flowers (Article #17). Additional traits can be discovered by sequencing the genes. Not only will scientists be able to see whether or not you have a fatal disease, but they will be able to envision what type of body type your child will have, what kind food they will have a taste for and whether they will be outgoing or paralyzed with fear about leaving the house. There are innumerable amount of traits that we will be able to see when we look at a ersons genes.

What kind of sports they will like, whether they will be overweight or underweight, how many calories they burn at rest, and whether they are a psychopathic killer (Article #9). We will be able to know ahead of time what kind of lives our children will lead, in some ways this is a good thing because it will prepare us for what type of parenting we have to do. But in other ways if we find out what likes and dislike our child will have we will have the choice, if we want this child or not, this exact thought raises many questions about the morality of genetic sequencing.

Scientists have just encountered the gene that controls the height of humans also governs life and death, meaning that short people are genetically programmed to live longer than tall people. Using Nematobe C. Elegan, worm-like creatures, scientists eliminated these genes and the result is either mutant giant, or dwarf worms. They discovered that the genes that were knock out which produce growth hormones, also influence life expectancy. The lower levels of growth hormones, the longer the life expectancy.

Even though it was only tested on C. Elegans, human have the same nsulin-based growth system, so it applied to humans as well (Articles #20,25). A discovery has been made that there is a gene that explains why moderate drinking can prevent heart attacks. This gene, or variants of it, makes the body break down alcohol very slowly which raises the levels of heart-protecting good cholesterol in the blood. Drinkers with this gene were found to have a sharply lower risks of heart attacks than those that dispense alcohol at a faster rate.

The gene produces enzymes called alcohol dehydrogenase that breaks down alcohol. The gene either breaks down the alcohol uickly or slowly. You inherit one of the genes from each parent, so you can have two fast genes, two slow genes, or one of each. Those who have two slow genes and average one drink a day have a 85% less risk of a heart attack than those who have two fast genes and hardly drink. With conditions such as obesity, overdose of alcohol, smoking, and a history of heart illness the risk was still 35% lower (Article #16).

Jurrassic Park the movie directed by Steve Speilberg, based on a book by Michael Crichton, has raised many questions about the correctness of taking DNA found in fossils and decoding it. Geologists right now are extracting the DNA from prehistoric bugs stomach. If the chance that the DNA turns out to be belonging to a dinosaur they want to decoded it and possibly clone a dinosaur. Cloning is made from a single adult cell joined with an egg cell, the genes of which have been removed, so all the geologists need from the DNA of a dinosaur is the adult cell, and an egg cell.

If the geologists decide not to clone the dinosaurs then they will use the DNA to find out a little more about dinosaurs and the environment in which they lived (Article #10). Apart from just studying the DNA and sequencing the genes, the knowledge of the DNA can be used in fighting crimes. Any type of body fluid and cells can be used to find out who was present at the scene of a crime. Evidence such as sperm, blood, pubic hair, skin cells, and saliva can be taken into a lab and studied to find out who exactly it belongs to. This is accomplished by searching a computer from a DNA Databank.

A DNA Databank keeps records on the DNA of everyone they possibly can, for use in such situations as a crime scene investigation. Once the investigators have a list of possible people that are suspected, they now go and get a swabbing of the inside of their mouths or further testing. People have rejected this, calling it an invasion of privacy. They believe that if employers were to be able to have access to the DNA Databank they would know all about their employee including diseases or disorders, characteristics and traits.

Meaning that if your employers looks at your DNA and finds that you have a history of heart disease in your genes and they believe that you are not fit for the job they can fire you on that account. This is a downfall of keeping DNA files on hand, they can be used against people, not just to help them (Articles #11,12,13,14,15) Scientists have not just been mapping the code of human and animals, but of plants as well. They have been able to genetically modify plants to help them survive longer and produce better food, flowers, or fragrance depending on what they want enhanced.

Genetically Modified foods have become more common in recent years. It was mostly grains that have been engineered with genes from non-grain species that make the plants resist insects or tolerate pesticides. So a farmer can spray his crops with a pesticide and have it kill everything in its field except his harvest. There are some problems with this, uch as allergies in humans. Scientists have yet to figure out whether or not people can develop allergies towards GMOs, but some people dont want to take the chance.

The pesticide resistant plants could jump to wild plants, creating super-weeds or could harm valuable insects by making their food unfit to eat, such as the Monarch butterfly. The Genetically Modified Atlantic and Pacific salmon are growing faster than normal salmon, if the super-salmon were to escape from the production plantations, they could mate with normal salmon and corrupt their whole genetic pool. There is also problems with patent enetically modified plants, if a person suspects that his neighbor was stealing his super-seeds, the only way to prove hes not is to spray his field.

If the crop dies then he is not stealing the crops, but he lost all that years harvest. If the crop lives, then the company can sue the neighbor. So you can see that there is a number of problems that could arise with releasing the GMOs. Some Health officials dont agree with Genetically Modified foods, claiming that it is unhealthy and dangerous to humans and the environment, if not properly controlled. Right now in Canada they are looking for better ways to control GMOs and the sale of them.

Officials believe that their will be a lot of problems with GMOs and how people will react to them being on the shelf, they think that there will be destruction of fields and food products just like the reaction in Europe last year. (Articles #21,22,24) After figuring out the genome of humans there is still Protenome, a complete listing of the 250,000 or so proteins that the 35,000 genes are capable of making. Proteins can vary in health and disease, and the long chains of amino acids do not string out but curl up on themselves in complex 3D shapes, making it indefinitely harder to break the ode.

Most of biology happens at the protein level, not the DNA level, Dr. Craig Venter of Celera Genomics points out. Scientists not only have to figure out what the listing of proteins is but how they change in disease and how they fold. This is dubbed the Greatest unsolved problem in biology. (Article #27) As you can see there is still a long way to go in finding out everything there is to know about Genetics. But when we do find out everything about Genetics and the human body, there is nothing left to the imagination, and a part of that will be sorely missed.

Genetic Engineering: A leap in to the future or a leap towards destruction

Science is a creature that continues to evolve at a much higher rate than the beings that gave it birth. The transformation time from tree-shrew, to ape, to human far exceeds the time from an analytical engine, to a calculator, to a computer. However, science, in the past, has always remained distant. It has allowed for advances in production, transportation, and even entertainment, but never in history has science be able to so deeply affect our lives as genetic engineering will undoubtedly do. With the birth of this new technology, scientific extremists and anti-technologists have risen in arms to block its budding future.

Spreading fear by misinterpretation of facts, they promote their hidden agendas in the halls of the United States congress. They fear that it is unsafe; however, genetic engineering is a safe and powerful tool that will yield unprecedented results, specifically in the field of medicine. It will usher in a world where gene defects, bacterial disease, and even aging are a thing of the past. By understanding genetic engineering and its history, discovering its possibilities, and answering the moral and safety questions it brings forth, the blanket of fear covering this remarkable technical miracle can be lifted.

The first step to understanding genetic engineering and embracing its possibilities for society is to obtain a rough knowledge base of its history and method. The basis for altering the evolutionary process is dependant on the understanding of how individuals pass on characteristics to their offspring. Genetics achieved its first foothold on the secrets of nature’s evolutionary process when an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel developed the first laws of heredity. Using these laws, scientists studied the characteristics of organisms for most of the next one hundred years following Mendel’s discovery.

These early studies concluded that each organism has two sets of character determinants, or genes (Stableford 16). For instance, in regards to eye color, a child could receive one set of genes from his or her father that were encoded one blue, and the other brown. The same child could also receive two brown genes from his or her mother. The conclusion for this inheritance would be the child has a three in four chance of having brown eyes, and a one in three chance of having blue eyes (Stableford 16). Genes are transmitted through chromosomes which reside in the nucleus of every living organism’s cells.

Each chromosome is made up of fine strands of deoxyribonucleic acids, or DNA. The information carried on the DNA determines the cells function within the organism. Sex cells are the only cells that contain a complete DNA map of the organism, therefore, the structure of a DNA molecule or combination of DNA molecules determines the shape, form, and function of the [organism’s] offspring (Lewin 1). DNA discovery is attributed to the research of three scientists, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and James Dewey Watson in 1951.

They were all later accredited with the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine in 1962 (Lewin 1). The new science of genetic engineering aims to take a dramatic short cut in the slow process of evolution (Stableford 25). In essence, scientists aim to remove one gene from an organism’s DNA, and place it into the DNA of another organism. This would create a new DNA strand, full of new encoded instructions; a strand that would have taken Mother Nature millions of years of natural selection to develop. Isolating and removing a desired gene from a DNA strand involves many different tools.

DNA can be broken up by exposing it to ultra-highfrequency sound waves, but this is an extremely inaccurate way of isolating a desirable DNA section (Stableford 26). A more accurate way of DNA splicing is the use of restriction enzymes, which are produced by various species of bacteria (Clarke 1). The restriction enzymes cut the DNA strand at a particular location called a nucleotide base, which makes up a DNA molecule. Now that the desired portion of the DNA is cut out, it can be joined to anothe strand of DNA by using enzymes called ligases.

The final important step in the creation of a new DNA strand is giving it the ability to self-replicate. This can be accomplished by using special pieces of DNA, called vectors, that permit the generation of multiple copies of a total DNA strand and fusing it to the newly created DNA structure. Another newly developed method, called polymerase chain reaction, allows for faster replication of DNA strands and does not require the use of vectors (Clarke 1). Viewpoint 1 The possibilities of genetic engineering are endless.

Once the power to control the instructions, given to a single cell, are mastered anything can be accomplished. For example, insulin can be created and grown in large quantities by using an inexpensive gene manipulation method of growing a certain bacteria. This supply of insulin is also not dependant on the supply of pancreatic tissue from animals. Recombinant factor VIII, the blood clotting agent missing in people suffering from hemophilia, can also be created by genetic engineering. Virtually all people who were treated with factor VIII before 1985 acquired HIV, and later AIDS.

Being completely pure, the bioengineered version of factor VIII eliminates any possibility of viral infection. Other uses of genetic engineering include creating disease resistant crops, formulating milk from cows already containing pharmaceutical compounds, generating vaccines, and altering livestock traits (Clarke 1). In the not so distant future, genetic engineering will become a principal player in fighting genetic, bacterial, and viral disease, along with controlling aging, and providing replaceable parts for humans. Medicine has seen many new innovations in its history.

The discovery of anesthetics permitted the birth of modern surgery, while the production of antibiotics in the 1920s minimized the threat from diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and cholera. The creation of serums which build up the bodies immune system to specific infections, before being laid low with them, has also enhanced modern medicine greatly (Stableford 59). All of these discoveries will fall under the broad shadow of genetic engineering when it reaches its apex in the medical community. Many people suffer from genetic diseases ranging from thousands of types of cancers, to blood, liver, and lung disorders.

Amazingly, all of these will be able to be treated by genetic engineering, specifically, gene therapy. The basis of gene therapy is to supply a functional gene to cells lacking that particular function, thus correcting the genetic disorder or disease. There are two main categories of gene therapy: germ line therapy, or altering of sperm and egg cells, and somatic cell therapy, which is much like an organ transplant. Germ line therapy results in a permanent change for the entire organism, and its future offspring. Unfortunately, germ line therapy, is not readily in use on humans for ethical reasons.

However, this genetic method could, in the future, solve many genetic birth defects such as downs syndrome. Somatic cell therapy deals with the direct treatment of living tissues. Scientists, in a lab, inject the tissues with the correct, functioning gene and then re-administer them to the patient, correcting the problem (Clarke 1). Along with altering the cells of living tissues, genetic engineering has also proven extremely helpful in the alteration of bacterial genes. Transforming bacterial cells is easier than transforming the cells of complex organisms (Stableford 34).

Two reasons are evident for this ease of manipulation: DNA enters, and functions easily in bacteria, and the transformed bacteria cells can be easily selected out from the untransformed ones. Bacterial bioengineering has many uses in our society, it can produce synthetic insulins, a growth hormone for the treatment of dwarfism and interferons for treatment of cancers and viral diseases (Stableford 34). Throughout the centuries disease has plagued the world, forcing everyone to take part in a virtual lottery with the agents of death (Stableford 59).

Whether viral or bacterial in nature, such disease are currently combated with the application of vaccines and antibiotics. These treatments, however, contain many unsolved problems. The difficulty with applying antibiotics to destroy bacteria is that natural selection allows for the mutation of bacteria cells, sometimes resulting in mutant bacterium which is resistant to a particular antibiotic. This indestructible bacterial pestilence wages havoc on the human body. Genetic engineering is conquering this medical dilemma by utilizing diseases that target bacterial organisms.

These diseases are viruses, named bacteriophages, which can be produced to attack specific disease-causing bacteria (Stableford 61). Much success has already been obtained by treating animals with a phage designed to attack the E. coli bacteria (Stableford 60). Diseases caused by viruses are much more difficult to control than those caused by bacteria. Viruses are not whole organisms, as bacteria are, and reproduce by hijacking the mechanisms of other cells. Therefore, any treatment designed to stop the virus itself, will also stop the functioning of its host cell.

A virus invades a host cell by piercing it at a site called a receptor. Upon attachment, the virus injects its DNA into the cell, coding it to reproduce more of the virus. After the virus is replicated millions of times over, the cell bursts and the new viruses are released to continue the cycle. The body’s natural defense against such cell invasion is to release certain proteins, called antigens, which plug up the receptor sites on healthy cells. This causes the foreign virus to not have a docking point on the cell. This process, however, is slow and not effective against a new viral attack.

Genetic engineering is improving the body’s defenses by creating pure antigens, or antibodies, in the lab for injection upon infection with a viral disease. This pure, concentrated antibody halts the symptoms of such a disease until the bodies natural defenses catch up. Future procedures may alter the very DNA of human cells, causing them to produce interferons. These interferons would allow the cell to be able determine if a foreign body bonding with it is healthy or a virus. In effect, every cell would be able to recognize every type of virus and be immune to them all (Stableford 61).

Current medical capabilities allow for the transplant of human organs, and even mechanical portions of some, such as the battery powered pacemaker. Current science can even re-apply fingers after they have been cut off in accidents, or attach synthetic arms and legs to allow patients to function normally in society. But would not it be incredibly convenient if the human body could simply regrow what it needed, such as a new kidney or arm? Genetic engineering can make this a reality. Currently in the world, a single plant cell can differentiate into all the components of an original, complex organism.

Certain types of salamanders can re-grow lost limbs, and some lizards can shed their tails when attacked and later grow them again. Ever of functional tissues. But before controlling the blastema is possible, a detailed knowledge of the switching process by means of which the genes in the cell nucleus are selectively activated and deactivated is needed (Stableford 90). To obtain proof that such a procedure is possible one only needs to examine an early embryo and realize that it knows whether to turn itself into an ostrich or a human.

After learning the procedure to control and activate regeneration, genetic engineering will be able to conquer such ailments as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other crippling diseases without grafting in new tissues. The broader scope of this technique would allow the re-growth of lost limbs, repairing any damaged organs internally, and the production of spare organs by growing them externally (Stableford 90). Viewpoint 2 Ever since biblical times the lifespan of a human being has been pegged at roughly 70 years. But is this number truly finite? In order to uncover the answer, knowledge of the process of aging is needed.

A common conception is that the human body contains an internal biological clock which continues to tick for about 70 years, then stops. An alternate watch analogy could be that the human body contains a certain type of alarm clock, and after so many years, the alarm sounds and deterioration beings. With that frame of thinking, the human body does not begin to age until a particular switch is tripped. In essence, stopping this process would simply involve a means of never allowing the switch to be tripped. W. Donner Denckla, of the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, proposes that the alarm clock theory is true.

He provides evidencefor this statement by examining the similarities between normal aging and the symptoms of ahormonal deficiency disease associated with the thyroid gland. Denckla proposes that as we get older the pituitary gland begins to produce a hormone which blocks the actions of the thyroid hormone, thus causing the body to age and eventually die. If Denckla’s theory is correct, conquering aging would simply be a process of altering the pituitary’s DNA so it would never be allowed to release the aging hormone. In the years to come, genetic engineering may finally defeat the most unbeatable enemy in the world, time (Stableford 94).

The morale and safety questions surrounding genetic engineering currently cause this new science to be cast in a false light. Anti-technologists and political extremists spread incorrect interpretation of facts coupled with statements that genetic engineering is not natural and defies the order of things. The morale question of biotechnology can be answered by studying where the evolution of man is, and where it is leading our society. The safety question can be answered by examining current safety precautions in industry, and past safety records of many bioengineering projects already in place.

The evolution of man can be broken up into three basic stages. The first, lasting millions of years, slowly shaped human nature from Homo erectus to Home sapiens. Natural selection provided the means for countless random mutations resulting in the appearance of such human characteristics as hands and feet. The second stage, after the full development of the human body and mind, saw humans moving from wild foragers to an agriculture based society. Natural selection received a helping hand as man took advantage of random mutations in nature and bred more productive species of plants and animals.

The most bountiful wheats were collected and re-planted, and the fastest horses were bred with equally faster horses. Even in our recent history the strongest black male slaves were mated with the hardest working female slaves. The third stage, still developing today, will not require the chance acquisition of super-mutations in nature. Man will be able to create such super-species without the strict limitations imposed by natural selection. By examining the natural slope of this evolution, the third stage is a natural and inevitable plateau that man will achieve (Stableford 8).

This omniscient control of our world may seem completely foreign, but the thought of the Egyptians erecting vast pyramids would have seem strange to Homo erectus as well. Conclusion Many claim genetic engineering will cause unseen disasters spiraling our world into chaotic darkness. However, few realize that many safety nets regarding bioengineering are already in effect. The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) was formed under the National Institute of Health to provide guidelines for research on engineered bacteria for industrial use.

The RAC has also set very restrictive guidelines requiring Federal approval if research involves pathogenicity (the rare ability of a microbe to cause disease) (Davis, Roche 69). It is well established that most natural bacteria do not cause disease. After many years of experimentation, microbiologists have demonstrated that they can engineer bacteria that are idence of regeneration is all around and the science of genetic engineering is slowly mastering its techniques. Regeneration in mammals is essentially a kind of controlled cancer, called a blastema.

The cancer is deliberately formed at the regeneration site and then converted into a structure just as safe as their natural counterparts (Davis and Rouche 70). In fact the RAC reports that there has not been a single case of illness or harm caused by recombinant [engineered] bacteria, and they now are used safely in high school experiments (Davis and Rouche 69). Scientists have also devised other methods of preventing bacteria from escaping their labs, such as modifying the bacteria so that it will die if it is removed from the laboratory environment. This creates a shield of complete safety for the outside world.

It is also thought that if such bacteria were to escape it would act like smallpox or anthrax and ravage the land. However, laboratory-created organisms are not as competitive as pathogens. Davis and Roche sum it up in extremely laymen’s terms, no matter how much Frostban you dump on a field, it’s not going to spread (70). In fact Frostbran, developed by Steven Lindow at the University of California, Berkeley, was sprayed on a test field in 1987 and was proven by a RAC committee to be completely harmless (Thompson 104). Fear of the unknown has slowed the progress of many scientific discoveries in the past.

The thought of man flying or stepping on the moon did not come easy to the average citizens of the world. But the fact remains, they were accepted and are now an everyday occurrence in our lives. Genetic engineering is in its period of fear and misunderstandifng, but like every great discovery in history, it will enjoy its time of realization and come into full use in society. The world is on the brink of the most exciting step into human evolution ever, and through knowledge and exploration, should welcome it and its possibilities with open arms.

Down’s Syndrome Essay

Down’s syndrome is a genetic condition involving an extra chromosome, this change occurs around the time of conception. A person with Down’s syndrome has forty-seven chromosomes instead of the usual forty-six. A relatively common genetic disorder, Down’s strikes 1 out of 600 babies. In 95 percent of all cases, the disorder originates with the egg, not the sperm, and the only known risk factor is advanced maternal age-at age 35, a woman has 1 chance in 117 of having a baby with Down’s; at 40, her odds are 1 in 34. (Graves, 1990)

People with Down’s syndrome all have a certain degree of learning disability . This means that they develop and learn more slowly than other children. However, most children with Down’s syndrome today will walk and talk, many will read and write, go to ordinary school, and look forward to a semi- independent adult life. (Platt and Carlson, 1992) Facts on Down Syndrome *Down syndrome is not a lethal anomaly. One to two percent of persons born with this disorder have uncorrectable heart defects at birth. The average life expectancy for all others is now beyond age 55 years. Today less than 5% of persons with Down syndrome have severe-to- profound mental retardation.

The majority are on the border of mild-to-moderate mental retardation, and some are exhibiting normal IQ scores today. *The average reading level for persons with Down syndrome is 3rd grade, with many reading at 6th-12th grade levels today. *The vast majority of adults with Down syndrome today can be expected to live semi- or totally independently and many enter the work force with today’s supported employment programs and some are competitively employed.

Scientists at Norfolk’s Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine say they have overcome most technical hurdles to screening embryos for Down syndrome and many other chromosomal defects before the embryos are implanted in a woman’s uterus. The institute, part of Eastern Virginia Medical School, hopes to try out the technique with a handful of high-risk couples who come to the institute for in-vitro fertilization, in the near future.

Eventually, all couples who go through the Jones Institute may have the option to screen for Down and most of the other conditions caused by an extra hromosome on one of 23 pairs that make up the normal complement. The technique has been developed in part to help parents avoid a difficult moral decision – what to do if the fertility techniques cause the mother to become pregnant with many children at once. At the same time, it opens up a host of other ethical questions for parents and society as a whole, say people who have children with Down.

According to Kingsley and Levitz (1994), in-vitro fertilization (IVF), is a technique in which eggs are removed from a woman’s ovaries and combined ith sperm in a dish. The resulting embryos are transplanted into the woman’s uterus. Before transplant, a single cell will be removed and exposed to probes made up of genetic material treated with fluorescent dye. Each probe has been designed to attach to a specific chromosome in the nucleus. Using a special microscope, a scientist can count the dots of various colors. Three of a specific color means that there is one extra chromosome of that type.

The institute will test five pairs that account for most chromosomal defects. The first cases will be done for free. When the procedure becomes common, the procedure will add about $2,000 to the cost of IVF, about $7,500. The Chairman of reproductive endocrinology at the Jones Institute said the procedure was developed primarily to avoid the multiple births that sometimes happen with IVF. (www #1) Most transplanted embryos, and many naturally conceived ones, never take root and grow because they have the wrong number of chromosomes.

In IVF, doctors try to improve the odds by implanting three or more, assuming that some will be lost. But sometimes, many or all of the embryos are viable. The parents then must decide – do they selectively abort some, or do they take on the hugely demanding task of having many babies at once? If doctors could screen the embryos, he said, they could limit themselves to implanting two and still enjoy a high probability that the embryos will survive. Nevertheless, the ability to screen out embryos with Down syndrome still worries families of people with the condition.

The option not to have a child with Down already exists. Tests during pregnancy can detect the condition. Parents may choose an abortion. Parents of hildren with Down syndrome, say that other parents who choose to discard an embryo in a laboratory are further removed from the implications of their decision. Doctors at the medical center say that they want very much for people confronting the decision to understand that having a child with Down syndrome can be very fulfilling.

They says the Jones Institute isn’t trying to devalue people with Down syndrome by offering the test. But they say this information has such important ramifications for the family, if we have that information, we would give it to them and they make the choice. Polar Body Analysis Physicians at Illinois Masonic Medical center have discovered that they can determine if a woman will have a baby with Down’s syndrome before she gets pregnant, provided she is willing to undergo in-vitro fertilization.

Using an experimental technique called polar body analysis, the genetic material of an egg can be checked before laboratory fertilization, helping some women avoid abortions. Chicago researchers at Masonic reported on a yearlong study involving 100 women who underwent the polar body procedure, they say that several women lready have delivered healthy babies, and more than 20 are pregnant with no sign of Down’s. But the possibility exists that the Masonic patients could have achieved the same results without genetic testing.

The majority of women who have conventional in-vitro fertilization are older and have normal pregnancies. Dr. Charles Strom, director of medical genetics at the hospital said that, polar body work gives a 35-year-old female the same chance of conceiving a chromosomally normal baby that a 21-year-old has. He said at least half the women in the in-vitro fertilization program are 35 or older. www #2) Polar body analysis hinges on basic biology. During normal development, the human egg contains a sac of excess chromosomes called the polar body before it gets ready to be fertilized by a male’s sperm.

Since this sac, is a mirror image of the egg, the genetic content of the egg itself can be determined through this procedure. (www #3) Without such testing, about 30 percent of the Down’s pregnancies resulting from in-vitro fertilization would have miscarried naturally, and others could have been picked up by the standard prenatal testing techniques, chorionic villi sampling and amniocentesis. In-vitro fertilization is expensive, labor intensive and often disappointing.

The polar body test would add another $2,000 to $2,500 to its costs. www #2) The Triple Screen The “triple screen for Down syndrome” has been in existence for over five years. However, just this past year, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists officially recommended that this test be offered to all pregnant patients of all ages. This implies a legal mandate to practicing physicians who cannot afford the liability of not offering such a test after a national recommendation has been made. This “mandate” has been met with great controversy.

The “triple screen” actually involves drawing maternal blood to test for serum levels of three hormones: human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), alphafetoprotein (AFP), and estriol (E3). The pattern of the levels of these hormones predicts the presence of Down syndrome in the fetuses in up to 60-70% of pregnancies affected. By using computer formulas, the hormonal levels can be found that are predictive for a risk of Down syndrome in the fetus that approximates 1 in 190 – which is the same risk that a pregnant woman has at age 5.

Thus, the test has been recommended now for women at all ages. If it is “positive”, it should be followed by ultrasonography and then amniocentesis to make a definitive diagnosis. (www #3) Some uses of the triple screen are seen as positive by all. If the test is negative, these results can prevent further unnecessary ultrasonography, or amniocentesis, or chorionic villus sampling – for women 35 or over; or for the woman with a previous fetus with Down syndrome. Normally these more expensive and invasive tests would have been recommended in those settings.

It is the use of the test for all pregnant women that begins to stir controversy. Only one such serum test has ever been recommended so widely before – the serum (AFP) alphafetoprotein screen. It is a screening test for multiple types of fetal defects that affect the “neural tube” in the fetus. These defects include such problems as anencephaly, holoprosencephaly, or einencephaly, as well as many levels of spina bifida. Down syndrome is certainly not the same as the wide range of anomalies termed “neural tube defects,” but the Triple Screen makes it seem an equal to many lethal defects.

The triple screen actually detects many more fetal anomalies than Down syndrome, including the AFP-related anomalies mentioned above and several lethal trisomies, such as Trisomy 18. The Triple Screen is called a screen “for Down syndrome” for marketing reasons, as much as for scientific accuracy. The Triple Screen is, in fact, a very poor screen, identifying only about 65% of fetuses with Down syndrome in utero. No other screen with such low validity has been universally recommended for all pregnant women. Such a recommendation means billions of dollars for the genetics industry and the researchers involved. (www #3)

Genetic Engineering – Genetically Modified Food

Genetic engineering is vastly becoming the hot topic of debate, not only in the science world but also on a global scale. It is becoming increasingly evident that with our population trends continuing to rise, there either simply isn’t enough food production from agriculture to sustain the world’s requirements or the distribution of consumption of primary production from this agriculture is greatly unequal.

Genetically modifying food is one possible solution that is already being heavily researched and tested, and is receiving its fair amount of praise for growing crops and raising livestock more efficiently and effectively as well as environmentally friendly ideals and management of natural resources. But there are also serious concerns over the safety of genetically modified foods on humans and other organisms, and ethics behind the genetic practices.

Also issues that need regarding include the impact of genetically modifying food on the natural balance of the environment, possible harsh market domination and the dependence of poorer countries on the larger industrialized nations. So can genetically modifying food really be considered a likely contender in the race to feed the ever-increasing population when there are such heavy cons associated with the social, ethical and scientific implications. A major environmental concern is that transgenic plants could pass their new genes to close relatives in the nearby wild.

Campbell, 2003) This could become a serious problem if traits such as pesticide resistance embedded into GM crops where to pass onto wild species through cross-pollination, the resulting plants becoming very difficult to control. This is just one example of how GM organisms could alter more so the natural balance and biodiversity of the environment. It would be very difficult to segregate the GM organisms from other organisms and there is no possible way of determining the effects of introduction of new synthetic genes into the natural context.

The genetic structure of any living thing is very intricate and complex, and the GM crop tests that are carried out only look at the short-term effects, and doesn’t allow for the possible effect of the future. Who determines that humans are superior to all other species and that the earth is here for our exploitation and manipulation? Is this just the natural (but intelligent) human instinct to survive as a species? To breed and become overwhelmingly abundant and rape the land of all possible resources without any regard of how much we are hurting and inevitably changing our own backyard.

Playing around with systems as complex as genetic codes is not something that should be rushed into as it very well seems to be. The consequences of entering GM organisms into the existing environment cannot be known until it is already done and I would rather be safe than sorry and propose that they should not be allowed to grow in conjunction with the environment at all. With the possibility of genetically engineering foods comes the idea of market domination.

The obvious expenses of running and maintaining a company large enough to not only research GM foods but to also produce them, will create a market of large dominating companies, leaving small agricultural practices in no position to compete but forcing them to sell there land or be taken over by the new genetic techniques and practices. In 2001 an AgBio World Foundation petition was passed for multinational seed producers Aventis CropScience to donate 3000 tons of GM experimental rice to the needy rather than destroying it as usual.

This brings up doubt as to the agenda of these particular big companies. One of the major pushes of genetic engineering is to aid and secure a means of providing foods for generations to come, and yet they are putting their own political agendas ahead of helping those who need it most at the present. To me this is the most important of all the issues surrounding the production of GM foods. The idea that the results are not matching the proposed aims and objectives set out by the scientific community, but rather it just opens up another new field of science which can be exploited by consumerism.

It seems to be that everybody is looking to solve tomorrow’s problems. But wouldn’t we be more beneficial by helping out some of the current situations of starving countries before we even think about protecting ourselves from the future. Why there aren’t laws stopping companies from disposing of perfectly good produce is completely beyond me. It just further enhances my belief that our consumer-based world would inevitably end up with serious market domination over GM foods, even if possible restraints were put in place.

I agree that simplistically, genetically modifying foods is a “possible” solution for feeding tomorrows generations, but when you look at our current consumer based society, I don’t believe it would get very far at all. Biotechnology can help countries that are resource poor by providing larger more stable crops. (worldgrowth. org) It is believed that GM crops can now not only reduce potential constraint, seasonal planting problems and costs, but can also increase the nutritional quality of agricultural products. GM crops can be produced to be herbicide resistant.

This means that farmers could spray these crops with herbicide and kill the weeds without affecting the crop. This in turn means that the amount of herbicide used in one season would be reduced, with a reduction of costs for the farmer and consumers. Pest resistance is another means by which crops, in particular cotton, can remove the need for pesticides, which are harmful to the environment. There is also experimentation on producing crops that are drought and salt tolerant and less reliant on fertilisers, which will open up new areas to be farmed and increased productivity.

So in the initial stages of research the costs for genetically modifying foods may be expensive with many large companies investing laboratories, equipment and human resources. But in the end it is a much cheaper option for farmers because of the reduction in pesticide and herbicide and high yields of quality product. Controversy over labelling laws and their effect on GM foods have gotten many people suspicious as to how exactly GM foods can be contained and traced.

The idea that big companies could be using genetically modified organisms in their products without the need to inform there customers is not one that many would like to hear. The European Commission has started a means of control by putting forth two legislations that require the traceability of GMO’s throughout the food chain and to provide consumers with information by labelling all GM foods. These strict rules however will imply a heavy burden on the food industry as it significantly tightens the use of genetic engineering and will be introduction of new costs.

By also informing publicly on labels that this particular food contains genetically modified organisms could potentially scare the consumer into buying another product without the genetically modified food, particularly those who are against such practises. So it will have a great impact on the companies employing these methods as to whether it will be beneficial. Certainly the manufacturing costs will lesson, but is this enough to sacrifice possible consumer reduction. Allergens and toxins are feared to be transferred from one food to another during the process of genetic engineering.

For example people allergic to peanuts might unrepentantly find themselves allergic to GM foods that contains a peanut gene. () This is inadvertently a problem because of the diversity of allergies, and to eliminate this problem would mean all genes being used for genetic modification would have to be cleared of allergenic characteristics. This would prove a very tedious task and not one that companies would like to employ. On the other hand, genetic engineering can tailor-make specific foods that don’t trigger allergic reactions in people.

The advantages of genetically modifying food include pest and disease resistance, selective herbicide tolerance and higher yields and quality. However, until further studies are carried out to determine the effects on human health and the stability of the environment then there will be causes for concern. Genetic engineering is a plausible solution to our growing population and demands on food, but is necessary to take precaution before any action is taken or we could find ourselves worse off then we already are.

Tay-Sachs disease

A girl is born without Tay-Sachs disease, a devasting genetic disorder that has decimated a lot of babies worldwide. A leukemia patient has defective bone marrow replaced with healthy bone marrow that was cloned from tissue from her own cells. These futuristic scenarios are not part of the debate for genetic engineering but they should be. Many people are afraid that somebody will clone Hitler or some evil person, but that is far from the fact. Genetic engineering can be used to make many aspects of human life better, including saving lives.

The rapid development of humanitys ability to control the gene will ventually lead to a promising future for the entire planet as a whole. Genetic engineering resulted not from the belief that nature should be manipulated and perfected by humanity. Rather, its principle aim is, as of any other technology, to improve the quality of life for the people of this planet. Therefore, it is necessary to weigh the benefits and consequences of this relatively recent breakthrough and determine in which ways it can be used to humanitys best advantage.

This speech will investigate the ways in which genetic engineering affects two important areas in todays society. The first one will be the improvement of the worlds agricultural techniques. With an ever-increasing growth in world population, the Earths resources are constantly becoming scarce. The advent of genetic engineering may be used to avert the occurrence of worldwide famine and starvation. The second one investigated will be in the field of medical development and study. Currently, genetic diseases are decimating the worlds population. Thousands of people have already died without a single worthy treatment or cure.

Worldwide acceptance and support of his technology would aid in our battle against these diseases. According to the United Nations medium projections issued in 1990 (Population Council, 1994), the global population will be increasing from 5. 3 billion in 1990 to 8. 5 billion in the year 2025. Consequently, there will be a much greater need for food, therefore accelerating further the consumption of Earths resources. To achieve this, it would be necessary to extensively use agricultural technology. However our current use of pesticides and other chemical fertilizers pose a serious evironmental threat.

Using genetic engineering would ultimately reduce the amount of potentially dangerous chemical substances we introduce into the environment. It would as well make food production more efficient therefore reducing distribution costs. Thanks to genetic engineering, Geneticists are currently able to create a resistant strain of the ordinary supermarket tomato (Pen*censored*, 1992). Using a technique called antisense genetics, the gene that is responsible for allowing tomatoes to soften and ripen can be transformed to produce the opposite effect.

The billions of tomatoes that circulating all round the world can therefore be made to resist the normal abuse of shipping and transport, and also having a longer shelf life. This practice could be applied to all other sorts of fruits and vegetables. This would allow for less of a waste of food therefore, putting less of a strain on human resources. Diseases and genetic defects have always been a major cause of concern for our society. Antibiotics, which used to be successful against pathogens, are now starting to become useless since the viruses have become resistant to the medications administered.

Therefore a proposed alternative is the use of genetic ngineering or more specifically, gene therapy, to cure diseases at the DNA level. This method is known as biotechnology and can aid in the treatment of diseases like a hormone defiency. Currently, a common diagnostic practice with unborn fetuses is the process of genetic screening. A needle is inserted into the uterus of the pregnant woman and is used to extract some amniotic fluid. As a result, several hundred diseases and defects can be diagnosed before birth (Office of Technology, 1990). Therefore parents can choose to have an abortion if they do not want their child to have a defect.

For over two centuries, accination has changed very little from the time of Edward Jenner, the first physician to have ever tried the method on a human being (Yong Kang, 1989). But this process has now become obsolete because by killing the virus, it is more likely to mutate into a more resistant strain for which is incurable. As a result, every new strain would require a new vaccine costing more money and time. A new method of producing vaccines is currently being studied and involves recombining the DNA of the virus so that it will not be able to reproduce.

This would be as effective as a regular vaccine except without the chance of utation. If genetic engineering becomes unrestricted the world would become a better place. Worldwide famine and starvation could possibly end through the use of technology in the agriculture field. The death rate would go down and very dramatically in Third World countries. We could see the end of diseases like AIDS and conditions like hemophilia. If you are interested in supporting genetic engineering you can write to your congressman and ask him or her to vote down the restrictions on genetic engineering. You can also make a petition a send it to your governor.

What is the Human Genome Project

The Human Genome Project (HGP) is an international research program designed to construct detailed genetic and physical maps of the human genome, to determine the complete nucleotide sequence of human DNA, to localize the estimated 80,000 genes within the human genome, and to perform similar analyses on the genomes of several other organisms used extensively in research laboratories as model systems.

This project is estimated to take 15 years to complete from October 1990 and has already cost the U. S. 2. 5 billion dollars. The scientific products of the HGP will comprise a resource of etailed information about the structure, organization and function of human DNA, information that is the basic set of inherited instructions for the development and functioning of a human being. What is the overall goal of the Project? In September, advisory committees at DOE and NIH approved new 5-year goals aimed at completing the Human Genome Project two years earlier than originally planned in 1990.

The new plan, published in the October 23, 1998 issue of Science, covers fiscal years 1999-2003 and calls for generating a “working draft” of the human genome DNA sequence by 2001 and obtaining he complete and highly accurate reference sequence by 2003. A new goal focuses on identifying regions of the human genome that differ from person to person. Although the vast majority of our DNA sequences are the same, scientists estimate that humans are 99. 9% identical genetically.

These DNA sequence variations can have a major impact on how our bodies respond to disease, environmental insults, such as bacteria, viruses, toxins, drugs and other therapies. Other major goals outlined in the plan include exploring the functions of human genes using methods that include comparing human DNA equences with those from organisms such as the laboratory mouse and yeast. Then they must address the ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding genetic tools and data, develop the computational capability to collect, store, and analyze DNA.

If successful, the completion of the human DNA sequence in 2003 will be the 50th anniversary of Watson and Crick’s description of the fundamental structure of DNA. Already revolutionizing biology, genome research provides a vital thrust to the increasing productivity and pervasiveness of the life sciences. Current and potential applications of genome research address national needs in molecular medicine, waste control and environmental cleanup, biotechnology, energy sources, and risk assessment.

Scientific Processes Chromosomes, which range in size from 50 million to 250 million bases are broken into very short pieces. Each short piece is used as a template to generate a set of fragments that differ in length from each other by a single base (template preparation and sequencing reaction steps). Now the fragments in a set are separated by gel electrophoresis. Then fluorescent dyes allow separation of all four fragments in a single lane on the gel. The final base at the end of each fragment is identified (base calling step).

This process recreates the original sequence of As, Ts, Cs, and Gs for each short piece generated in the first step. Current electrophoresis limits are about 500-700 bases sequenced per read. Automated sequences analyze the resulting electropherograms and the result is a four-color chromatogram showing peaks that represent each of the 4 DNA bases. After the bases are read by a computer, another computer is used to assemble the hort sequences in blocks of about 500 bases each, called the read length into long continuous stretches that are analyzed for errors, gene-coding regions, and other characteristics.

Finished sequence is submitted to public sequence databases, such as GenBank. Now The Human Genome Project sequence data is made free to anyone around the world who would like to view it. Benefits of the completed Project This project will be a great jump in understanding human genes which will provide us with many answers we would like to know, and many that we haven’t thought about yet. Genome maps of other organisms will provided so we can compare them to the human genome and let us compare and understand other biological systems.

Information generated and technologies developed will revolutionize future biological explorations. Genes involved in various genetic diseases will be found, and further studies will lead to an understanding of how those genes contribute to genetic diseases. Among these diseases will be the genes involved in cancer. Medical practices will be altered when new clinical technologies based on DNA diagnostics are combined with information coming from genome maps.

Researchers will be able to identify individuals predisposed to particular diseases and come up with therapeutic practices based on new classes of drugs, immunotherapy techniques, avoidance of environmental conditions that may trigger disease, and possible replacement of defective genes through gene therapy. Another benefit will come from understanding genetic similarities between mammals and humans. There isn’t that much difference between human biology and cattle or mouse biology.

What we learn about human genetics will help us to raise healthier, more productive, disease-resistant farm animals that ight, through wise and careful genetic engineering, produce drugs of value to us. Technologies, databases, and biological resources developed in genome research will have an enormous impact on a wide variety of biotechnology-related industries in such fields as agriculture, energy production, waste control, and environmental cleanup. The potential for commercial development presents U. S. industry with a great deal of wealth and opportunities from sales of biotechnology products.

The Criticism With all the benefits people tend to forget about a lot the things that could hurt our way of life by uncovering this nformation. This new information could be used to take biological warfare to a new level that is incomprehensible. It could also create a form of genetic racism that could separate countries and states. There are some less serious but still very important legal and social and ethical issues that will also need to be addressed. One of the major ethical issues is if we will allow this technology to be used to genetically engineer a so called “Super Race”.

In my opinion I don’t think messing human nature in this way is a good idea at all. It could cause less genetic diversity which makes humans what hey are. There’s also the big picture of over population and how it could ruin our planet. Nature has to take it’s course even with this technology unless we can figure out how to make other planets inhabitable for humans. Genetic Information Discovered So Far According to the Genome Database (GDB), the public repository for human genome mapping information, over 7600 genes had been mapped to particular chromosomes in January 1999.

Tens of thousands of human gene fragments have been identified as expressed sequence tags (EST’s). These are lso being assigned to positions on chromosome maps The physical mapping goal is to establish a marker every 100,000 bases across each chromosome (about 30,000 markers). The most complete map yet was published in summer 1997 and featured about 8000 landmarks, which provided about twice the resolution of previous maps. Similarly detailed maps have been produced for a few individual chromosomes, but this map offers landmarks across the entire human genome that are also positioned relative to each other.

Currently an estimated 5% of the human genome has actually been sequence. My Opinion In my opinion I believe that the information found by the Human Genome Project is going to be a useful tool for our future, and well worth the billions of dollars it is costing us. But there will need to be laws made to protect it from being misused. It should be used to cure diseases by gene therapy and to better our lives with this technology. It shouldn’t be used to make a “Super Breed” of humans or cloning. The information should also be banned from being used in the military. If this information is not used improperly I believe it will better our lives.

Discussion on the Negative Implications of the Information Derived from the Human Genome Project

Should man govern nature? This is a question that has been posed more often recently than ever. Human will soon know the secret to life and be able to use that secret in many different ways. This is all made possible by a nation-wide research effort called the Human Genome Project. The HGP is a scientific study and mapping of the estimated 50,000-100,000 genes in the human body. It is being hailed as one of the most important projects in the world by scientists and scholars alike. The information that these researchers uncover could be helpful for generations to come.

The research will allow doctors to correct genetic disorders before children are born, eliminate the often-fatal problems associated with babies born prematurely, and to cure diseases such as AIDS. The problem with this project is not the doctors, scientists, and other researchers investigating the genes. They are out to help people and are not doing this to get rich. Large corporations, such as insurance companies, and governments are looking to save money on future policyholders through the use of genetic testing. These illustrate the negative and corruptive aspects of the HGP.

The Human Genome Project was originally founded by the Department Of Energy (DOE) and is now jointly researched by the DOE and the National Institute of Health (NIH). Research on the project began in 1990. They used a four-letter system to decode the long strands of deoxyribonucleic acid. As understood from previous research, there are four nitrogenous base pairs that make up DNA. ‘A’ stands for Adenine, which is paired with ‘T’ for Thymine, and ‘G’ stands for Guanine, which is paired with ‘C’, Cytosine. Using this system, scientists from across the globe have properly sequenced a large part of the human genome.

This research project was expected to take approximately fifteen years from the beginning. By 1993, the initial plan was in need of revising, because the effort was already ahead of schedule and greatly under budget (Lee 1-3). It is believed that at the current pace of research, 90% of the genome will be sequenced by the year 2000. The entire genome will be completed by 2003 (Begley 3). The government issues thousands of grants a year to the HGP effort, 6500 in 1989 and 4700 in 1990 (Lee 247).

‘Traditionally drug companies have developed drugs by looking at ‘function’ i. the illness, and then going back to discover the molecular structures. Now we are drowning in structures, i. e. genes, and trying to find their function’; (Branfman 2). This information can provide a little bit of background to the HGP and its purpose. Despite the positive efforts made by the research community to complete the project and improve many lives, there are many negative aspects that need attention. Insurance companies are very likely to create some problems that will need to be regulated by the government.

There has already been evidence that insurance companies have and will use genetic testing as a way of choosing policyholders. Insurance companies will start requiring genetic testing of unborn children for predispositions of undesired traits or diseases. They may then deny the child coverage if the test results prove to be undesirable. The unborn children are not the only ones who will be affected. The current policyholders may be required to take a genetic test to show whether or not they are susceptible to genetic disorders, in which case the insurance company would drop their policy if the results prove to be positive.

If the policyholder refuses to submit to a genetic test, his insurance coverage may be discontinued. Spouses, children, and other dependencies may also be required to test for genetic flaws, in which their coverage will discontinue in the event of an undesirable predisposition. One real-life example, ‘A healthy boy who carried a gene predisposing him to a heart disorder was denied health coverage by his parents’ insurance company, even though the boy took medication that eliminated his risk of heart disease’; (Bereano 3).

People seeking first time insurance coverage will find it to be the most difficult. They may have to be tested before they can be covered. This scenario can mean that if a potential policyholder is rejected at one company, they may not be able to find coverage from any company (Bereano 2-4). The insurance companies are not the only area for concern. Government agencies will actually prove to be a very large problem. Many questions can be raised about the government policies on failed genetic tests. One such question would be: Will the government protect people with a predisposition to recklessness?

There is no clear-cut way to answer this question, but it seems that it will be self-evident within the next few years. How will the government use genetic testing as a way to control convicted criminals? This is another such question that may have been posed, but for this one there is already an answer forming. ‘The FBI has been promoting the genetic screening of criminals to establish state DNA identification data banks to be used in criminal investigations; recent federal legislation penalizes states fiscally if they don’t participate.

Yet the data includes samples from those whose crimes have low recidivism rates or don’t leave tissue samples; in some states, people merely accused are forced into the program. ‘; This system is actually beginning to come into use within this nation. This process though is just one step towards the possibility of a nation-wide, person-to-person DNA data bank, in which every citizen of the United States of America may be forced to submit a sample of their own DNA for reference in future crimes or as a means of identification.

The government may also use a system of genetic testing to selectively choose who can remain on welfare. A major ethical issue of the genetic testing capabilities is that the government could essentially not provide welfare to certain persons that test positive for the ‘laziness gene’;. Another possibility is that to save money, the government will alter the genotype of its welfare recipients to get them to work. HMO’s (Health Maintenance Organizations) have and will use genetic testing in negative ways to determine whether or not a person should be covered under the policies.

There have been many such instances of genetic discrimination already documented. One such case, ‘A pregnant woman whose fetus tested positive for Cystic Fibrosis was told by her HMO that it would be willing to cover the cost of an abortion, but would not carry the infant under the family’s medical policy if she chose to carry the pregnancy full term’; (Bereano 3-4). The greatest government concern is not welfare or selective protection, but rather the military implementations. The Human Genome Project can be compared to other such government projects as the Manhattan Project and the Apollo space missions (Lee 240).

These both have military purposes. The Manhattan Project was researched to learn how to unleash the incredible power of the atom, with which the military created horrible weapons of mass destruction. The Apollo space missions were designed to put a man on the moon, but they could essentially be used to learn how to launch and set up nuclear weapons from space. James Watson, co discoverer of the double-helical structure of DNA stated, ‘We used to believe our destiny was in the stars; now we know it is in our genes’; (Bereano 3). The Human Genome Project can be viewed the same way.

While there are many positive uses for the knowledge that these scientists are about to receive, there are also future military purposes. The more that can be understood about the human genome, the more information that can be used to create biological weapons. Discoveries are being made of the immune system that could lead to the engineering of viruses that could potentially render a victim defenseless against infection (Lee 240, 241). The government will undoubtedly have many ill-fated uses for the code of life, but genetic testing will affect every working-class citizen.

Corporations, if not regulated by law, can have the power to require a genetic test be taken as a term of hire, or test current employees to determine job capabilities and placement. If the government and insurance companies can take advantage of a new technology, such as genetic testing, then there is not anything that can prevent large corporations or even small businesses from choosing the best person for a specific job based solely on there genetic makeup. The dawn of the genetic age brought forth the use of a new word, ‘Eugenics’;.

Eugenics is a word used to describe unnatural selection. The Nazi’s attempted such crude experiments in the thirties and forties on Jews and other ethnic minorities. In modern terms, this is the process by which a parent will be able to choose the desirable traits in their child before, during, or even after conception. The use of this practice is not only unethical, but is also greatly immoral. Eugenics is broken up into two sub-categories. Genetic therapy is the manipulation of genes in order to bring a being up to a normal physical or mental standpoint.

Genetic enhancement is the other form, in which human genes are altered to express desirable traits, prolong life, or increase mental status beyond the normal level. It is of great concern that the altering of the genes in one generation will ultimately affect the germ line, or every descendant of that original generation. The majority of scientists and ethicists oppose gene therapy that will alter the germ line. Researchers are experimenting with different ideas to make it possible for an introduced gene to self-destruct in the presence of an enzyme that is only located in the reproductive cells.

This would allow for the altered gene to remain in one generation, allowing for future generations to make different choices (Begley 1-3). The concerns of the general public usually center on genetic discrimination. DNA testing is a relatively new idea; the government has not yet perfected its plan on regulation of knowledge of genetic test results. The Kennedy-Kassebaum bill limits genetic discrimination regarding certain medical insurance policies, but does not apply to life, disability, or automobile insurance or to employment – all areas of documented discrimination (Bereano 3,4).

Some individuals argue that the law should reflect moral judgment, while others oppose, and think that people should be free to make their own decisions in private (Lee 260). The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Council for Responsible Genetics (CRG) are both active groups towards the opposition of genetic discrimination (Bereano 4). Environmental issues are often an overlooked aspect of ethics. If both genes and environmental issues are linked to a specific disease, the environmental issues may be ignored in pursuit of the disease causing genes.

This project has posed many questions regarding the productivity of the effort. It is said that between 95% and 98% of human DNA consists of worthless code that does not provide information to the cell and probably has no function at all. The genes that actually cause the genetic diseases are located on the remaining 2% to 5% of the genome. These can easily be located and sequenced without wasting the time and money to sequence the entire genome (Lee 244). Genetics is a relatively new study in practical medicine.

Most community-based, university affiliated family physicians have had little if any training on genetic counseling. Many of them feel that there has not been an adequate educational opportunity to learn about genetics, and some indicate a reluctance to invest in self-education until genetic problems become more relevant in the practical field. These physicians do not perceive genetics as having a substantial impact on their practices, but do expect major clinical changes in the future (Fetters 1).

Although the Human Genome Project will bring upon many aspects that will be beneficial for generations to come, there are too many negative implications that will turn a lot of cheeks. Supporters of this effort will in the future regret their choice. There will be employment and insurance barriers due to genetic testing. Perhaps the worst part about the government implications is the biological military applications that will spawn destructive biological weapons. Man should not and could not govern nature. Nature has always prevailed from the beginning of time. Man has finally sealed his own fate.

The Ethics of Genetic Engineering

Is genetic engineering right or wrong? That seems to be the newest question of biology. In some ways its right, but in some ways its wrong. Genetic Engineering can cure a lot of severe diseases. For a short list of examples; cancer and AIDS. They are some the worlds most severe diseases. Cancer alone kills millions and millions of people each year. AIDS on the other hand doesn’t have a full cure; but there is a prescription dose that people with AIDS can get to cure them from cancer for a short time.

If we found a full cure to AIDS or cancer, we would probably already be on Mars (people who have been killed from these diseases could of been people who created ways to get to outer planets)! Genetic Engineering is that cure! All scientist have to do, I word it like its an easy thing to do, is find the rest of the letters in our DNA (you will learn about DNA later in this report). Genetic engineering can also help people who have disabilities. It will make disabilities rare. Also, people who don’t have abilities they want can make sure that their kids do have the ability.

For example, if I wasn’t an athletic person, I could make it so my kids were. This is an amazing ability! Genetic engineering can also make people who are big boned, have small, or normal bone sizes. Genetic engineering has nothing to do with what kind of foods you like, or what your favorite color is. It does make sure you have a certain color of eye, or feature. I have my moms cleft chin. I could make it so my kid has no chance of having a cleft chin. Genetic Engineering is changing the instructions in your DNA. You see, DNA is made up of a twisting “ladder” on the ladder are different “steps. “

What’s Genetic Engineering

Nowadays, scientists have learned a great deal about the chemical changes taking place inside living things. They have deciphered the code, DNA, by which animals and plants pass on their characteristics to their offspring. They have even leant how to alter that code to produce life forms with new characteristics. This new technology involving both chemical and biological science is known as genetic engineering. Through this new technology, we shall soon be able to provide much better treatments, and possibly even cures for certain serious diseases, especially those like inheriting diseases, which cannot presently be cured.

Besides, we shall be able to create new kinds of life, or altered version of existing animals and plants, for medical and industrial uses. Basic, Individual, Building Unit of Life All living things are built up by millions of millions of same fundamental working parts. These are called cells. Cells are microscopic, however there are many different kinds of cells with different properties for a particular task in a living things. For instances, a nerve cell is particularly used for carry messages to and from he brain and have a specific shape differs the others.

Nucleus, the most important part of a cell, which directs the making of essential substances, called proteins, on which all life depends. However, each different organism has its own specific kind of proteins. How do they know which kind of protein are essentials? Inside the nucleus of the cell of each organism, has a special, complex chemical called DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). These DNA contains the instruction and informations of what kind of proteins have to be made. DNA is shaped like a twisted rope ladder.

The rungs of the ladder are made up of four chemical bases, which are adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G), and cytosine (C). Each of these bases has special shape that A can only attach with T and G can only attach with C. The sequences of how the bases arrange are the information of what proteins are made. A section of DNA that has the complete code for a single protein is called gene. That’s also what’s genetic engineering working on. Genes determine the type of proteins our bodies make. It controls a huge variety of factors that help make us unique individuals.

As this fact, nobody has exactly the same set of genes as you have, unless you have an identical twin, everyone is looks exactly like you. Genes are stored on long strands of DNA known as chromosomes inside the nuclei of our cells. Most of the cells in your body contain 46 chromosomes, arranged in 23 pairs. Each cell contains the complete set of DNA. Not every cell in the body uses every instruction on the DNA in its nucleus. Instead, it reads only those parts needed to manufacture certain proteins. Inheriting Disease Most of our cells contain 46 chromosomes.

However, two type of cells in human beings that have only half this number. These are the egg cells in females and the sperm cells in males. When fertilization takes place, a sperm joins with an egg, and the 23 chromosomes from each combine to make a new set of 46. That is, all genes in human come from two versions that are 23 chromosomes from your mother and 23 from you father. Although there is two version of the same type of gene, sometimes only one version is used, this gene is call dominant gene. The other is said to be recessive. Inherited diseases or genetic diseases are of two types.

The first are those resulting from a disease-causing dominant gene inherited from either the father or the mother. In this case, the parent who passes on the unhealthy gene must also be a sufferer of the disease. The second type appears when two recessive genes receive from both parents. Since there is no choice but for either one switched on. Huntington’s Disease One of the well-known genetic diseases is called Huntington’s Disease named after George Huntington, the doctor who first described it in 1872. This inherited disease affects about 30,000 people in the United States.

It causes depression, bursts of anger or violence, memory loss, confusion, and shaking movements that, as the disease advances, grow into a grotesque, writhing dance that never stops. All these effects result from destruction of small but vital areas of the brain called the basal ganglia, destruction masterminded by a single dominant gene. Huntington’s disease is one of about 4,000 human diseases had known to be inherited. There is no cure or even treatment for this relentless disease. Perhaps most tragic of all, signs of it usually do not appear until a person is 30 or 40 years old.

By then, many of its victims have had children. There is a 50-50 chance of passing it on to each offspring. Because the gene is dominant, anyone who inherits it will develop the disease. Scientists all over the world went through a several years of hard work to find where the disease-causing gene is located. It is significantly important to know where it located and discoveries how it produces certain proteins to distract the brain, in order to cure this disease. By this disease we can see how genetic engineering applies for medical uses.

If we talk about this disease, it is impossible not to mention about Nancy Wexler. When she was 23, she learned that her mother, Leonore, had Huntington’s disease. That means there is 50-50 chance that she has inherited the genetic mutation and will eventually die just as her mother finally did. She went from being dismal to being challenged and wanting to be a knight in shining amour going out to fight the devils, recalls her father, Milton Wexler. She didn’t devastated by the experience of her mother dying slowing by the disease that threatened her family, instead she is a fighter.

In 1969, Nancy Wexler became President of the Hereditary Disease Foundation, a clinic founded by her father. She received her doctor’s degree in 1974. She formed the Huntington’s Disease Collaborative Research Group, to hunt the location of the gene. She not only functioned as a scientist but as catalyst, keeping scientists from different nations doing the same research. Needle In A Genetic Haystack David Housman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) brought up an idea that the best thing they could do to combat Huntington’s would be to find the gene that caused it.

Such a discovery would produce a test for the disease, which would allow people to find out whether they carried the dangerous gene before they had children. It also could lead to a better understanding of the illness and, possibly, a treatment or even cure for it. Human has more than 100,000 genes, how can they find one gene among them? Housman suggested the use of restriction enzymes, the new technique developed by molecular biologists. Genes differ slightly in length and composition from person to person, a particular restriction enzyme did not snip everyone’s DNA into pieces of exactly the same size.

They called them restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs), pronounced riflips. Housman explained that RFLPs could be used as markers for other genes that were as yet unknown. If a particular form of RFLP was always or almost always inherited along with a certain gene, the gene was almost sure to lie very close to the RFLP on a chromosome. If there is procedure without materials, work cannot proceed. Nancy Wexler had known about the Venezuelan family. Venezuelan family is a big Huntington’s family on the shores of a large lake called Maracaibo. But the members of the family living in three different villages.

She returned to Venezuela to collect blood and skin samples members for DNA testing. In 1983, James Gusella, a graduate student of Housman’s, found a particular maker inherited with Huntington’s gene in Iowa, another big Huntington’s family. He then turned to Venezuela, and comparing both. He then certain that that the maker of Huntington’s gene. The most immediate result of Gusella’s discovery was the creation of a test that showed with about 6 percent certainty whether a person would develop Huntington’s disease. The test began to be used in 1986. But this sparked out a controversy ethics issues. Twilight Zone of Genetics

Although the maker of Huntington’s gene was found, but that’s not enough to develop a cure or treatment for the disease. Their next quest was to search for the Huntington’s gene itself. Despite the collaborative research group’s best efforts, the Huntington’s gene remained elusive throughout the 1980s. By 1984, the group had learned that the maker RELP, and therefore the disease gene, was on the short arm of chromosome 4. For many years the Huntington’s group thought their quarry was almost at the end of the chromosome arm, a region so difficult to analyze that Wexler had called it the Twilight Zone of genetics.

Then, just as the end region was finally sequenced, evidence began suggesting that the gene be in fact farther in on the chromosome. The sequencing had to begin all over again. The group’s quest was finally successful early in 1993. Marcy MacDonald, a senior researcher working with James Gusella, was the one who sequenced the Huntington’s gene, and also learned what was wrong with it. Huntington’s Gene The Huntington’s gene that scientists search for many years was a sort of stutter, a repeating sequence of the bases C-A-G.

The genes of people unaffected by the disease had between 11 and 34 of these repeats. In people who developed Huntington’s, however, the repeats numbered 42 or more. Later, a research found out that the more repeats an affected person’s gene had the sooner in life the disease would appear and the more severe it would be. How Gene Leads to Huntington’s Four years after the discovery of the defective gene that causes Huntington’s disease, researchers have produced the first clues about how the gene causes the devastating disorder.

Scientists found that genetic diseases share the same defect with Huntington’s which a genetic stutter that inserts from 30 to 150 copies of the amino acid glutamine into key proteins, altering their properties and causing the disease. They now developing drugs for treatment which delay the onset of symptoms. Genetic Ethics Since the genetic screening can only be used to predict whether a person might develop a genetic disease. It gives probabilities, not certainties. However, as this becomes increasingly common, discrimination arises. For Huntington’s, if a person carried it, possibly he will not be hired.

But we can also take advantage of this technology. For instance, if a woman, who knows she has inherited a tendency to develop breast cancer, might decide to have frequent mammograms so that tumor can be detected while they are still small and easily removable. The Future The new techniques of genetic engineering will solve some important problems while at the same time creating others. Within 50 years, many of today’s most devastating illnesses may be not only treatable but also curable. If people use it in a right way, it will benefit us a lot. Or otherwise, may produce problems more than it be able to solve.

Predictions for genetic engeneering

I think that there are going to be a lot of new changes in the upcoming millennium. I think the change that will have the biggest impact will be genetic engineering. One side of genetic engineering will be that parents will be allowed to chose the outcome of their baby. Another side is cloning. I think the biggest part will be correcting DNA to get rid of diseases. That could also be a part of choosing your baby because you could fix any problems before it is even born. I think the part that will most affect our generation will be choosing your baby.

You will probably be able to choose he sex, hair color, skin tone, etc. You might even be able to choose your babies birthdate. You will probably also be able to choose which parent the child resembles more. I think that cloning could also be a part of this because they will be able to make your baby look exactly like whoever you want. I think that cloning will be the change that everyone likes for a little while but then they will realize that it is really bad and we are running out of room to live.

I think it will start out that they get a clone to help with housework but then they will just keep getting more and more until the lones have clones who have clones and no one will have any idea who they are talking to. Then after all of that happens people will be living forty or fifty to a house and the we will have to cut down all of the trees to have room to live and then we will die because we need trees to make oxygen for us. I am strongly against cloning because I believe that if you clone people the will just get lazy and fat because they will have clones running around to do everything for them.

Another thing I do not agree with is fixing peoples problems with gene therapy. I think that if people get a disease it is either their own ault or they got it for some reason. I do not think that we should be able to decide who lives and who dies. It is okay to try and help people live but if they need gene therapy there has to be some reason why they are supposed to die. I think they will be able to fix any problem anyone has by simply giving them a shot that goes into their cells and fixes the part of the DNA that is not right, the question is how will everyone feel about living forever.

I feel okay about some parts of genetic engineering but not any that are going to overpopulate the world. I think another big part of the new millennium will be ntergalactic travel. I think we will be able to just book a flight like you would to go across the country. Im sure that there has to be life out there somewhere because if every star is just like our sun then there has to be planets circling them. Im sure at least one of them has the same type of environment as ours. They will probably make some kind of ship that will be able to go the speed of light or even faster.

I think that there is no way that gasoline will stay around. I think it will be replaced by fuel cells, that convert water to energy. I think they will make it run on water ecause that is the most plentiful substance on earth. Or maybe they will find some new substance on another planet that is more useful or better for the environment. They will probably make a better vehicle that can go a lot faster and without a driver. I believe the change that will impact children the most is that there wont be any school that you have to go to.

All schools will come in through the computer and the Internet. When that happens there wont be any need for paper or writing utensils because everything will be done digitally. That will make kids have a lot better grades because they ont be forced to get up in the morning to go to school. That might make kids grades lower though because they will not want to do any work because they will be at home. I think that communication will change a great deal. You will not need anything to talk to other people.

You will just have a chip in your head that can communicate with other peoples chips. People will be able to communicate across the world by just thinking about who they want to talk to. People will even be able to go on the Internet by just hooking up a screen to their head and thinking which sites they want to go to. I think that sports will change a lot to. They will either go away completely or they will make robots that play the game for everyone. No one will want to play sports because they will be too lazy to do any of that stuff.

There is still enough money in it though for people to keep investing in it. There will probably be some new sports that no one can even dream of now. Houses will also be very different than they are now. You will be able to program everything to be automatic like shower, coffee maker or breakfast. They will be a lot more secure because they will have very advanced security ystems. They will also have different beds that will let you rest faster so it seems like you are getting more sleep in the same amount of time.

I think that the future will have a lot of good and bad things in store for all of us. In the future there will be a ton of new things for all of us to discover and enjoy. I think that the quality of living will greatly increase. Everything will be built very complex but perform so basically. Everything will become run by machines and robots but we will control them. I think that the technology will become so common that it will all become very inexpensive.

Genetic Engineering Future Harmony

The world of science has experienced many profound breakthroughs and advances in the twentieth century, but none perhaps as great as that of genetic engineering. However, the twentieth century society is not prepared or even willing at times to accept the moral and ethical controversies genetic engineering is creating.

Genetic engineering, defined as the use or manipulation of an individuals genetic material in order to produce desired characteristics or results in the same individual, other individuals of the same species, or other species, is undoubtedly changing societys relationship with nature, medicine, and perhaps its own cultural values (Thro 69). It has been predicted for the year 2020, people will have new definitions of health and illness (Oleksy 108). The completion of genome mapping will allow a health plan for each person, preventing genetic disease and promoting a better life (Oleksy 108).

However, genetic engineering, also called gene splicing or gene cloning, is not being welcomed with open arms. It affects the moral values of human beings, as well as other living things. The competing goods in genetic engineering, i. e. creating a stronger, more advanced human race vs. a natural selective process created by God, are virtually impossible to avoid and have placed a temporary hold one the progress of this new technology and societys moral view.

Our society must be persuaded that genetic engineering is of great value in order to become an accepted social practice. This is something that society obviously lacks the conviction for thus far, making genetic engineering an object of continued scientific, as well as philosophical study. 1 Throughout history, science has allowed for advances in production, transportation, and even entertainment. Although, never in history has science been able to so deeply affect our lives as genetic engineering is undoubtedly doing and will continue to do in the not so distant future.

Genetic engineering can help us create a stronger and more advanced human race by increasing food production, revolutionize new medicines, even enhance human intelligence, physical beauty and strength. Diseases could become weakened and cleaned out of humans genetic makeup. For example, if one parent had a bad gene or some type of hereditary disease, it could be removed from the embryo and replace with another clean gene. This process is called embryo screening (Oleksy 48). Embryo screening is used to determine if an embryo has received a defective gene.

Several embryos could be genetically cloned, the DNA from one of the embryos could then be removed and standard genetic testing would be used to detect whether or not that embryo contained the genetic disease. If this cloned embryo contained a disease, then one of the other embryos could be used for implantation in a parent, thus, guaranteeing that the child would be free of genetic disease (Oleksy 49). This process would certainly be beneficial for couples who are infertile and want to have children. Genetic engineering would enable the couple to produce a baby with their characteristics.

In fact, they would be able to pick and choose the characteristics of their unborn child. Another benefit of genetic engineering, is the possibility of cloning body organs. This process would prove to be very beneficial to people who have lost a body organ such as a kidney. Scientists could clone a particular organ of an individual. This process could have the potential to work better than a transplanted organ, because the genetic makeup of that individual would be used in the re-creation of the organ. 2 Not only does genetic engineering present the possibilities of saving lives; it can save entire species from extinction.

Genetic engineering could be used to increase the population of endangered species of animals, thus saving them from total extinction. This would help maintain a natural balance, and provide a continuous life cycle. Even though there is the belief by some that genetic engineering is overall beneficial, many suggest that genetic engineering is unnatural and not ethically correct. Also, we know too little about this technology to understand the long-term effects of replacing old genes with new ones. Genetic engineering is triggering an ethical emergency within society, and causing this new science to be cast in a dim light.

Anti-technologists, political extremists, as well as numerous individuals of society believe that genetic engineering is not natural and defies the order of things. There are many religious groups that feel genetic engineering should not be considered for any reason whatsoever. Rev. Robert A. Martin states: It appears that from the beginning, God reserved for Himself the right to create living souls (Epstein 2). Others claim that many of the ethical issues being raised about genetic engineering are based in theology, the concern for preserving human dignity and individual freedom.

This somehow parallels to the issue of abortion and whether or not it is morally right. Religion is the root of many individual personal values and beliefs about social matters such as genetic engineering and abortion. Many also believe that genetic engineering will cause unseen disasters because once we decide to begin the process of human genetic engineering, there will be no logical place to stop and there will be no turning back. If diabetes, sickle cell anemia, and cancer are to be cured by altering human genes, why not proceed to other disorders such as myopia, color blindness, and left-handedness?

It is possible that scientists will go too far and genetically alter characteristics that will corrupt society. This scientific 3 information could get into the hands of the economically or politically powerful and used for ill purposes. For example, with the use of genetic engineering, individuals could be created for the sole purpose of fighting war or for creating a perfect society. Already, there is the possibility of creating new animals to be used as medicine factories. If we pick and choose the characteristics of our children, we will become a society of made-to-order humans who have lost forever the great gift of genetic diversity.

A society of eugenics would be created. Eugenics is a theory that deals with the improvement of hereditary qualities by controlling human mating (Tagliaferro 71). In other words, eugenicists believe the human race can be improved by deliberately encouraging people with superior traits to reproduce, while discouraging people with inferior traits from bearing children (Tagliaferro 71). One very strong view held by society is one that compares genetic engineering to other technologies, such as chemical pesticides and nuclear energy, which were welcomed in their early stages.

However, they were later revealed to have dangerous side effects that still threaten society (Tagliaferro 8). I believe that genetic engineering is a part of our natural evolution. Our ancestors evolved by using their hands and minds, creating language and civilizations which advanced society. Genetic engineering is what will advance our society if used ethically in curing diseases, as well as deformities and not in total re-creation of man or animal. Throughout the centuries disease has plagued the world, forcing everyone to take part in a virtual lottery with the agents of death (Stableford 59).

Diseases and deformities are painful, as well as useless. Genetic engineering can aid to the evolution of humans by cleansing our bodies of such ill and in some cases deadly burdens. This isolation and removing of a desired gene is a process that would have taken Mother Nature millions of 4 years of natural selection to develop. I agree that God created the world with a mathematical structure and He had created the human mind with the capacity for grasping that structure (Pearcey, et al 22).

I also understand the view held my many that genetic engineering is unnatural and not ethically correct, however, so would be taking medicine when sick. For those who disagree with genetic engineering, I am sure if their child could be saved from a genetic disease, they would reconsider. Genetic engineering is a powerful tool that will yield unprecedented results, specifically in the field of medicine. It will usher in a world where gene defects, bacterial disease, and even aging are a thing of the past.

However, I feel that cloning, as well as genetic preference in characteristics is essentially the altering Gods sacred creation. I believe that society fails to understand fully enough, correctly enough and makes mistakes. If the atomic bomb revealed original sin, the era of genetic engineering will reveal it much more (Epstein 4). It has been said that science is the study of nature. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, analyzed all processes of change in categories borrowed from the growth and development of living organisms.

Even prior to modern genetics, it was obvious that the development of living organisms must be directed by some internal pattern that ensures that acorns always grow into oaks, not maples, and that chicks always grow into hens, not horses (Pearcey, et al 60). Aristotle believed that each individual has its built-in specific pattern of development and grows toward proper self-realization as a specimen of its type. Growth, purpose, and direction are thus built into nature (Stumpf 95). Therefore, it is my belief that Aristotle would conclude that genetic engineering is not ethical because it is not a natural process, it is man made.

I further believe that Aristotle would claim that genetic engineering is immoral, particularly cloning, because it is not possible 5 to use this process in moderation. Aristotle believed in the golden mean, which means that everything in moderation gives life meaning (Stumpf 101). In contrast, the philosophical view on morality held by Kant was that morality was regarded as a set of rules which prescribe the means necessary to the achievement of a given end; its rules must be obeyed without consideration of consequences that will follow from doing so or not.

Kant states that an act is good which is properly motivated; proper motivation stems from a sense of duty (Stumpf 316). Other motivations for action are self-interest and inclination, which result in either amoral or immoral acts. So, according to Kant, genetic engineering would be an act in accordance with duty because it is the social belief that technology is the means for finding advanced medical solutions. This social view, in Kants terms, is the universal maxim that applies to all situations.

Genetic engineering will promote world good even though there are consequences. It is not known whether or not genetic engineering will go beyond the laboratory and affect lives of individuals, as well as society. However, what is known is that genetic engineering seems to be very appealing in some aspects and very frightening in others. This is why genetic engineering will continue to be an object of scientific and philosophical study for many years to come.

The Task at Hand

Science is defined as knowledge based on observed facts and tested truths arranged in an orderly system. It has had an extreme effect on technology, which covers production, transportation, and even entertainment. In the past, though, science has always remained distant. However, with the birth of genetic engineering, science has become something that will deeply affect lives. Advancements are being made daily with genetic engineering: the Human Genome Project is nearly done, gene replacement therapy lies within reach, and cloning is on the horizon.

Genetically altered foods have already become an important aspect of life with “new and better varieties” (Bier, 2001, p. 65) and even the possibilities of solving world hunger. There is no doubt of the benefits that genetic engineering can offer society, but can scientists look that far ahead and truly say what is for the good of society? Does the world understand genetics enough to welcome the possibilities with open arms? Society often runs away or hides from problems, but with genetic engineering it cannot ignore the possible outcomes whether good or bad.

Genetic engineering is clearly beneficial to all kinds of people, but it is possible that negative issues exist which could counteract any good results. “In the near term, there are some very interesting and important issues that we all should consider as a society because they raise potentially profound moral and ethical questions” (Bier, 2001, p. 70). Such issues are that of discrimination and the dangers and difficulty in making ethical decisions. It is society’s duty to step back and view these issues before pursuing genetic research and heading down a destructive path.

Since the origin of man, discrimination has found its way into every type of society through forms of sexism, racism, and religious and cultural prejudice. Throughout the years, though, society has worked to reduce such intolerances and give everyone equal rights. However, if genetic engineering is added to the scene, equal rights could possibly plummet into oblivion. Andrew Niccol accentuates such inequality in his movie Gattaca. In Gattaca, Vincent Freeman is a man who is born naturally instead of in a lab.

Because of this he is labeled by the world as an invalid, and no employment, social position, or even love is possible for him except for those assigned specially to invalids. In order to obtain his dream job, Vincent must use another’s identity to pass as a valid. The fact that he must be a “valid” to acquire a decent job points out the possible outcome of discrimination in the employment world if genetic engineering would become a reality. Employers could obtain a sample of a person’s DNA and not give him/her the job solely based on genes.

Like in Gattaca, there would become jobs for those genetically engineered: lawyers, doctors, and businessmen; and jobs for those naturally born: janitors, bus drivers, and garbage men. In short, equality of rights and opportunity would cease to exist. Discrimination, however, would not stop with employment. Prejudice would become an everyday event even in social life. If genetic engineering leads to pre-picking genes to prevent birth defects, “how will we react to children we meet who have that disorder? ” (Baker, 2001). People will see the child and wonder why it was born.

Parents will have the chance to choose whatever genes they see fit for their child, offering it the best of everything. Society, however, will then look down upon those children “naturally” born. If this type of genetic engineering becomes a common occurrence, society is bound to discriminate against those people with defects or even differences. Yet differences are not bad and can be seen as unique and characteristic of the person they belong to. Some people even say that genetic engineering would “undermine the right of every person to be valued for his or her uniqueness” (Baker, 2001).

The argument is that upon entering this life, a person is given certain qualities and inequalities that make him/her unique to each other. These qualities shape experiences, which in turn shape lives. Even the obstacles a person faces are meant to mold him/her and add character. Genetic engineering, however, removes some of these obstacles. Like in Gattaca, people would conceivably become an unthinking mass following the world’s plan of their lives, not their own. Today, however, people are not an unthinking mass, and we live in a society where everyone can become involved in social and political issues.

With genetic engineering on the horizon, society needs to take a firm grasp on this ethics and ask what it truly wants. Ethical questions are constantly being asked, yet no one wants to face the issues at hand. People are so concerned with pleasing the majority that no one wants to take responsibility. If no one speaks up, though, scientists will continue blindly down an uncertain path. The problem here is that technology is so preoccupied with whether it can, that it never even considers whether it should. Take, for example, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Greg Egan’s The Extra.

In Frankenstein, the narrator, Robert Walton, believes that “one man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which [he] sought” (Shelley, 1991, 13). Victor Frankenstein reminds Walton that he was once nave in this statement and proceeds to tell him how his own actions had led to a “hell within [him] which nothing could extinguish” (Shelley, 1991, p. 72). Genetic engineering has acquired this same navet and society could be blinded to the possible consequences if something is not done.

The risks alone are too overpowering to ignore. As in the case of cloning Dolly, it took 277 tries to produce her, and scientists produced many lambs with abnormalities. The techniques are extremely risky and “more often than not unsuccessful” (Baker, 2001). Risks, however, are not the only concern. Societal abuse of genetic engineering also needs to be a great consideration. With all of the possibilities genetic engineering provides, exploitation of its purposes is bound to occur. The Extras, by Greg Egan, examines such abuse.

The main character, Daniel Gray, has created a produce line of genetically engineered humans that lack any form of intelligence. Their only purpose on is to serve as organ donors for their owner. In essence, genetic engineering has become a fixation of indulgence: “The prospect of living for centuries seemed to have made the rich greedier than ever; a fortune that sufficed for seven or eight decades was no longer enough” (Egan, 2001, p. 47).

With this kind of thinking, society would become what Thomas Hobbes describes as “a condition of war of every one against every one” (Hobbes, 2001, p. ). Abuse of genetic engineering could lead people to forget any sort of compassion and humanity because they are living only for themselves. Charles Darwin even states, “Man selects only for his own good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends” (Darwin, 2001, p. 3). It is human tendency to try to obtain the best of everything. However, as society takes on nature’s responsibility of natural selection, Darwin points out that man does not discern between desire and necessity.

Genetic engineering would become that of selfishness and personal gain. In The Extras, Gray even admits, “In the end it came down to longevity, and the hope of immorality” (Egan, 2001, p. 54). Nothing is more self-seeking than the aspiration for eternal life, and with genetic engineering, it could certainly become a possibility. Genetic engineering is indeed a large step into the future of mankind, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. Lives will be saved, diseases will be cured, and new information will be available for all who need it.

It is society’s choice, however, whether to embrace it and continue, or look deeper into the future consequences before rushing headlong into the unknown. We hold the future in our hands and do not want to look back upon our creations as Victor Frankenstein did: “I ardently wished to extinguish that life which I had so thoughtlessly bestowed” (Shelley, 1991, p. 76). The future is now, and it is society’s task to view the prejudicial and ethical issues concerning genetic engineering carefully. “We have landed on the naked shores of the brave new world, and we need to plan for the future we wish to create” (Bier, 2001, p. 78).

Genetic Faltering Essay

Regenerating extinct species, engineering babies that are born without vital body organs, this is what the use of genetic engineering brings to the world. “In Greek myth, an chimera was a part lion, part goat, part dragon that lived in Lycia; in real life, it’s an animal customized with genes of different species. In reality, it could be a human-animal mixture that could result in horror for the scientific community. In myth the chimera was taken down by the warrior Bellerophon, the biotech version faces platoons of lawyers, bioethicists, and biologists” (Hager).

In this paper, I am going to discuss what has already been done, the unethical side of genetics, and what will happen in the future if we continue to tinker. Genetics pose a major problem to the modern day world. With the deteriorating conditions of the earth today, the use of genetics will further break down our fragile planet. As of 1998, many experiments have been done in the field of genetics, in the next section, I will discuss a few. First, genetics came into the public view in the early 1970’s when a scientist named Paul Berg began experimenting with a strain of E. li bacteria called SV40. (Tagliaferro 69) This was the public beginning to the struggle surrounding genetics.

Berg was not very intelligent about the way he conducted his tests, and he was forced to stop, until the National Institute of Health determined that SV40 was harmless to humans. (Tagliaferro 70) The next major happening in genetics was the Asilomar Conference of 1973. The Asilomar conference was a good start, but it did not set strict enough standards for experimentation, and this caused many harsh, and disruptive experiments. Then in 1975, the second Asilomar conference was held.

This conference helped a little, but it still left to much gray area for scientists to “play” in. (Tagliaferro 70) The Asilomar Conference were a gigantic step forward, but they still left the scientists with to much freedom. The government should have taken control of the industry when it had the chance, but it let the chance slip through its fingers. After the Asilomar conferences, there were no major advancements until the early 1990’s. “In the early 1990’s private companies began experimenting with plants, and pesticides. They modified the plants, and then marketed them as better foods.

In 1991 the Food and Drug administration took the products off the market for examination. They deemed the foods to be fine for human consumption” (Levine). These new wonder plants were supposed to produce more crops, and use less space, but in reality they only produced an average of 3-5 percent more, and they used the same amount of space as the original plants. The downside to these genetically engineered plants was the pesticides that must be applied to maintain them; some of these if not applied right can cause illness, or even be fatal to certain people.

There were a few small advancements from 1991 to 1997, when a group of British scientists cloned Dolly the sheep. The scientists used part of the original animals DNA, and they expanded upon it to where they had the animal’s entire genetic make-up. This procedure shocked the world, in being it was the first known successful cloning. This experiment raised eyebrows, and it upset many people because of the moral lines it crossed. If we can clone sheep, why don’t we clone super humans? This question outraged many, and excited many others.

In the United States, human cloning is controlled by teach state government, but on a whole, the majority of the states have outlawed cloning experiments, and for good reason. Cloning is a dangerous area that if not controlled properly could result in the end of the human race, as we now know it. “Stuart Newman, a cell biologist at New York Medical College has applied for a patent on ways to make human-animal chimeras. Newman doesn’t want to do it. He just wants to make sure no one else does, either” (Hager). Second, there are many concerns that surround the field of genetic engineering.

These concerns range from moral, to environmental, and the ethics that are involved. These concerns have a lot of backing, and are very severe. There are about three moral concerns that surround all genetics, they are; what to do with a mistake, can genetic creatures be patented, and are the things that are made free to live, or should they be contained for experimentation. First, what happens if a geneticist makes a mistake? Well, there are a few options kill it, let it live in a confined area, or let it roam free. All of these options are bad in one way or another.

First, if you kill the mistake, you have wasted time, money, and a life. This is the most scorned option of all three. Next, if you let it live in a confined area, you are depriving it of all the basic frills of life. What kind of life is it to be confined in a small cell with no outside excitement? The last option for geneticists is to let the thing live, and go on with its life as normal. This option provides even more ethical questions, so it is shunned by many. Many times the mistakes may not be well equipped for life in the real world.

They may not be equipped for the stress of human life. The next issues are over the rights, and what rights the creators have. “While the 13th amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery can be interpreted as supporting all life, and denying who or what ever made them the right to control them” (Goldberg). According to the 13th amendment the creature should have the rights of an American citizen, and the creator would have no control over it. This exception would help total human clones, but what if it was a human-animal chimera? Would it have rights, or would it be an animal?

The whole situation is murky, I hope that we never come to a point where we have to answer these questions, but only time will tell. The last moral concern is what should happen with the created being? The answer is usually that it should be kept for studying, and experimentation. This option denies the being the right to any sort of meaningful existence. Many are against this, they say that it denies the common liberties of life, and is inhumane. Both reasons are true, and they present strong points of interest. The environmental concerns are obvious.

The earth is deteriorating rapidly, and it could not support some of the larger creatures of years past, but still geneticts try to do the impossible” (Bryan). Time, after time we see movies, and things that portray dinosaurs coming back from extinction. These portrayals are actually quite real, in the world today, the technology exists, and the DNA is available. If dinosaurs and other large extinct animals were brought back, the earth would falter, and the human race would be facing a grave future. In the future, we should devise plans for what to do with what we create before we create it.

There are many ethical concerns that have arisen over the past five to seven years. Two examples are, is what about being humane, and what about religion? The issues have risen, and people have tried to answer them. I will also try to answer these to questions in depth. First, humane is defined as marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animals. (Reiss) Many believe that being humane is one of the basic responsibilities of life. Others believe that it is something that should be practiced, but only at certain times.

Humanity is something that should be practiced regularly, but if we genetically engineer animals or humans, how can we be humane, we are messing with the way a creature is made, and how it behaves. How can humanity be extended to creatures that we have created? I don’t feel that it can be done. “Since 1993, geneticists have been experimenting with sheep, and their wool production. Geneticists have modified the DNA of as many as five different breeds of sheep. The genes of these sheep were modified to produce help produce more wool” (Genetics).

Now, how is this humane, we manipulate the genes of animals to better meet the needs of the human race. This is not right. These sheep were not intended to have thick coats, and now they face greater risk of heat related deaths. More over, would we like it if we were being changed and manipulated into living a certain way? I don’t believe so, so why don’t we start treating things the way we want to be treated? Well, there are a few more issues that come along with humanity, product testing, and when should humanity be implied.

First, if an animal is used for product testing, it is looked down upon, but what would happen when companies used genetically engineered animals to test? These genetically engineered animals should be treated the same as all other animals, and they should actually be acted better towards. They should be acted better towards, because we do not know what their bodies, or minds can take. They are fragile creatures, because they have been modified for what humans believe is right, but we do not know the rigors of an animals everyday life, they mainly rely on their natural instincts to act, if we modify them, we might damage their functioning.

The second ethical issue is important in most people’s eyes. Seventy-five percent of the world’s people say they believe in a higher being. Well, if they believe in this so called higher being, how can they live knowing that there are people in this world that are trying to bypass him, and play god themselves. I believe in god, and I do not see how people can actually let this go on. I could not live with myself, if I tried to be above the man himself, it is very disheartening to hear what goes on in this world.

Human Genome Project

Adam and Eve were doomed for trying to be like god, this is the same damnation mankind is headed to. Everyone’s dream is to have absolute power and control of everything. The genome project and DNA engineering gives man the ability to create life and cu omize life to his specific needs of likes. So how good is too good? Man’s ability to make life or create perfect human beings so they can be in a state of Utopia will disturb the balance of nature. Every individual, every child born on earth is unique i it’s own way, not only by looks but also by their character, their DNA.

Changing this by producing two of the same kind, of which one is produced in the laboratory, unbalances nature. A clone is a cell, a group of cells, or an organism produced by asexu reproduction, which contains genetic information identical to the parent cell or organism. Although some organisms produce asexually naturally, the first artificial cloning by humans were plants developed from grafts and stem cuttings. Cloning involvin very complex laboratory techniques is a relatively recent scientific advancement in today’s world.

Among these is the Genome Project, which involves the research and support of Physical Mapping and DNA Sequencing. This would enable Humans to reproduce b ies that what most parents want. Completing this DNA sequencing and Physical mapping would enable us to change everything in a new born baby to the likes of the parents e. g. IQ, Color, Strength, looks, gender, etc. The Human Genome Project (HGP) is a research program for analyzing the structure of the Human DNA. This is achieved by determining the location of the one hundred thousand genes, and finding the sequence of 3 billion base pairs.

In the United States of erica, this project is overseen by 2 federal Agencies, the National Institute of Health (NIH) through its National Center of Genome Research (NHGRI) and Office of Health and Environmental Research (OHER). Their major goals are to: Mapping and sequencing NA of the human Genome; mapping and sequencing the DNA of model organisms; computerized data collection; storage and handling of the information, addressing related Ethical, Legal, and Social implications.

They recognized that mapping and sequencing the man genome would impact everyone’s life. They questioned how this new genetic information should be interpreted and used, who should have access to it, they are concerned that the information might result in anxiety, stigmatization, discrimination. The uman Genome Project has been used for the cloning of genes responsible for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, retinoblastoma, cystic fibrosis, and neurofibromatosis. If other diseases like these are isolated, biologists can learn about the gene’s pathology of isorders.

For example, before geneticists cloned the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene, to confirm the diagnosis was expensive and very uncomfortable, the tests were also inadequate to detect carriers. But now, with only a blood sample, geneticists an detect most mutations associated with DMD rapidly. The genome information can be used to detect any gene mutations likely to happen to future generations of a family. It helps to predict which individuals have an increase susceptibility to diseases such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes, which result from complex instructions between genes and the environment.

When biologists compare the human genome with the ge mes of other organisms, they may gain an insight into molecular evolution including human evolution. ” (New tools for tomorrow’s health research, 1992). Biologists could use the genes to compare to other genes of other species, they may get more informat n or perhaps even closer to finding out more about the human evolution. The HGP not only helped in the medical field, but also in technology advancement.

Its biggest challenge is to find faster ways to map DNA, which will yield way to faster development f technology. HGP provides way for new job opportunities in biotechnology, health care, computing and information storage. When Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, it was a symbolic representation of technology and science being misused. It shows that ever hing has a good side and a bad side to it. Mankind is not ready for the consequences it may have from HGP. In the book, Frankenstein represents all the scientists and the “monster” they created as their invention.

Before misfortune tainted my mind, and hanged its bright vision of extensive usefulness into glummy and narrow reflections upon self. ” (Frankenstein, p. 22). This shows that Frankenstein remembered his happy childhood before he was struck with the idea of creation. As mentioned earlier, gene c information may be used to predict sensitivities to various industrial and environmental agents. “The damages of misuse and the potential of personal threats to the personal privacy should not be taken lightly. “(to know ourselves.

U. S. dept. of health ) “Gene transfer should never be undertaken in an attempt to enhance of improve human beings Somatic cell enhancements engineering would threaten important life values in two ways: it could be medically hazardous, in that risks could exceed the potential nefits and the procedure therefore could cause harm. And it could be morally precarious, in that it would require moral decisions our society is not now ready to make, and it could lead to an increase in inequality and discriminatory practices. (Genet s and Human Malleability. French Heanderson 2-1990)

Using the information provided by Human Genome Project (HGP), a person’s history of Genetic Disorder, insurance will refuse to give him insurance coverage. “Only you have your combination of looks, personality, and behavior. As the saying goes, they bro he mold when you were made! There is no one in the world exactly like you. ” (YOUR GENES, YOUR CHOICES. Bateer). Would like to have someone just like you created artificially? Someone who thinks and acts like you?

What if you have the same interests an have conflicts? Having two of the same person, one being of a laboratory birth is certainly going to unbalance nature. Who has the right to know about the info gained by HGP, when he or she goes for genetic testing? Does a girl at the age of 10 have to ow that she has Hunnington’s disease? For one second, one might think she is happy and needs to know this information, so she can make important decisions ahead of time. But the fact is she cannot know ahead of time. How will she react to the test resul .

She might be too young to cope with it. Also keeping this information secret is hard. If the insurance companies found out about the information they will deny her coverage in their policies. Also to get this information the girl needs to go through e ensive testing, and a Genetic Linkage study, which involves the girl to ask most of her relatives multiple questions, which could be a heavy burden on her. Genetic Information leads to a lot of discrimination. Using HGP, people can produce the “perfect” baby.

If a family, especially countries where females are of a lesser importance then males, found out that the child they are about to have is a female, t n they would have an abortion, which is taking a life away. In the future people can use HGP to change physical and mental states of a newborn baby. They could make it taller, stronger, smarter, change the skin tone, the eye color and hair color, possib ities are endless. But if everyone were to do this there will be no balance. They can bring the dead back to life by using their DNA of the dead, and put it into a newborn.

This is not good, if someone of harmful intentions decides to bring someone like itler back to life. Genetic testing is not 100% accurate. The probability of erroneous results from a genetic test is small but not zero, false-positive or false-negative results can occur because of technical abnormalities or human error. Some Tests su as that for Cystic Fribrosis cannot detect all of the mutations associated with the disorders. So where is the billions of dollars of funding going into? The Human Genome Project and DNA cloning is a weapon aimed for total destruction of mankind.

Just ke the atom bomb, created for national security, yet once dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, by the United States of America, caused the lose of thousands of innocent lives and hundreds to follow by mutilations due to the aftermath and the radiat n. If HGP is not restricted now, it will have a more negative impact on the world then a positive one. It might be used to create a “super” race. Man cannot and should not play god by trying to create life the way they want it, leave god’s job to him.

Various Genetic Disorders

Alterations in human chromosomes or the deletion of an important gene product are often due to a mutation, which can spring an abundant strand of genetic mutations and improper coding. Mutations can spring from deletion, duplication or inversion of a chromosome. This improper deletion is the factor that leads to complications and ultimately genetic disorders. Turner Syndrome and Cat-cry Syndrome are both alterations of chromosome structure due to deletion. In Turner Syndrome, there is a missing X chromosome and in the Cat-cry Syndrome chromosome-18 has been lost or deleted.

Other genetic disorders that give rise to discussion are point mutations which include Sickle cell anemia, Maternal PKU and the genetic disorder of The D1 Trisomy syndrome. Turner Syndrome was described first by Turner in 1938 (Jack H. Hung 1989 p. 45) and it was established that this disorder was due to the deletion of an X chromosome in 1959 by Ford, Jones, Polani, de Ameida and Briggs. The most predominant traits of those who have this disorder consist of being short, having neck webbing with a low hairline and having a widely spaced chest.

Turner Syndrome disease is not a fatal disease as long as there is management of possible heart problems and ovarian dysfunction. Early support and counseling are the key in dealing with psychological problems that may arise such as infertility and potential hearing loss. Cat-cry Syndrome is another deletion disorder in which inhibitor survives quite well. Lejeune recognized this disorder in 1964 and he gave it the official name of La Maladie du Cri-du-Chat. The physical characteristics are evident in this disorder.

There is a round moon-face, a low birth weight and a transverse palmar crease. When infants are born, it is their cry that stands out the most. It embodies a plaintive high-pitched wail, weak, and with a hint of stridor that sounds like that of a cat (Valtine 1969 p. 113). This cry is the result of small vocal cords and a curved epiglottis. As these infants grow older their voice will eventually deepen and become more normal. The chromosome deletion is part of the short arm of a B group chromosome.

It seems that the deletion comes about as a chance mishap, a break and then a loss at anaphase (Valtine 1969 p. 114). Sickle cell disease is another disorder but is not caused by the deletion of a chromosome. Instead there is an abnormal type of hemoglobin S that is inherited as an autosomal inherited trait. This disease produces chronic anemia, which may become life threatening when hemolytic crises (the breakdown of redblood cells) or aplastic crises (bone marrow fails to produce blood cells) occur (http://www. wcu. u/library/online/index. htm).

The incidence of this disorder is 1/400 African Americans and 8/100,000 people. The manifestations of this disease are a result of the fragility and inflexibility of the sickle red bloodcells. When exposed to a lack of water, infection, and low oxygen supply, these delicate red blood cells take the shape of a crescent. This then causes blood cell devastation and thickening of the blood. Sickle cell anemia has the potential to be life threatening and can affect other body systems and parts of the body.

Those included are the nervous system, bones, the kidneys and the liver. Maternal PKU is a genetic disorder that stems from point mutation. 1/15,000 people fall victim to the disorder. Phenylketonuria (PKU) has been shown as a cause of retardation in infant fetuses. Children in the fetus begin with a normal amount of phenylalanine hydroxylase but are affected by the mother’s elevated phenylalanine level due to the imbalance of prenatal amino acid (Kenneth Lyons Jones, M. D. 1988).

Mental deficiency is clearly evident in disorder and usually consists of I. Q. s of 50. There are frequent mild manifestations of dysfunction and there are mild characteristics of a round face, thin upper lip, a small upturned nose and a deformed maxilla. Occasional abnormalities that are frequently associated with this disorder are sacral spine anomalies, cleft lip and irritability. The D1 Trisomy Syndrome is a very rare hideous disease that occurs during the time of infancy. Only just over a dozen cases on record. This diagnosis can often be made at birth due to the consistent abnormalities.

The baby is frail, puny, and microcephalic. There may be deformities of the scalp or skull and there is invariably cleft lip or palate (Kenneth Lyons Jones, M. D. ). The fingers and toes are often disfigured on these victems. As far as the other body parts go, there is a congenital heart deformity and there is often abnormal lobulation of the lungs. Interestingly enough, these bizarre deformities are present due to one of the chromosomes in Group D, but it is hard to say which one because the D chromosomes cannot be distinguished.

The disorder of the D1 Trisomy syndrome is fatal and the babies are expected to live only a few days or weeks, some have lived to 2 or 3 years. If the baby does live past infancy, severe mental defects take their toll. This disorder stood out to me due to the nature of its mysterious formation. It is not known whether pair 13,14, or 15 arise conflict in the chromosomes. Through conducting research on genetic disorders I have come into contact with books that hold hundreds of genetic disorders and most of these pictures are those of children.

I picked this topic due to my interest on the topic, but was completely unaware of the graphic nature of some of these disorders. Theodore Roosevelt quotes Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the great twilight that knows neither victory nor the feeling of defeat. The genetic disorders of today can not be totally wiped off the face of the planet, but can be somewhat predicted with the help of family trees and common knowledge of ancestors.

The development of cloning

Bioethics, which is the study of value judgments pertaining to human conduct in the area of biology and includes those related to the practice of medicine, has been an important aspect of all areas in the scientific field (Bernstein, Maurice, M. D. ). It is one of the factors that says whether or not certain scientific research can go on, and if it can, under which rules and regulations it must abide by. One of the most recent and controversial issues facing our society today is the idea of cloning.

On February 23, 1997, Ian Wilmut, a Scottish scientist, along with his colleagues at the Roslin Institute and PPL Therapeutics, announced to the world that they had cloned a lamb, which they named Dolly (Mario,Christopher). The two share the same nucleic DNA, but differ in terms of their mitochondrial DNA, which is vitally important for the regulation of the cell. The media and the press ignored this fact, and thus claimed that Dolly and her mother were genetically identical, which sparked a fury of outcry all around the world.

The technique of transferring a nucleus from a somatic cell into an egg cell of which the nucleus had been removed, called nuclear transplantation, is an extension of research that had been ongoing for over 40 years. Up until now, scientists thought that adult cells could not be reprogrammed to behave like a fertilized egg and create an embryo, but the evidence obtained by Dollys success prove otherwise.

The issues of cloning have been around for a long time, starting with the publication of Joshua Lederbergs 1966 article on cloning in the American Naturalist. The publics interest has been perked by many sci-fi books, films, and movies including Aldous Huxleys 1932 novel Brave New World, 1973s Sleeper, the 1978 film The Boys from Brazil. Most recently, the movie Multiplicity dealt with replicating Billy Crystal over and over (Mario, Christopher).

The ethical, legal, and moral issues aroused by cloning have been raised by previous projects, and are now simply emerging again, with its focus on three major points: the shift from sexual reproduction with that of asexual replication of existing genes; the ability to predetermine the genes of a child; and the ability to create many genetically identical children (Report/Recommendations of the NBAC). The public responded to Dolly with a mixture of fear and excitement, questioning the benefits and the disasters that could happen in the future if research was to continue.

From a poll taken by Maurice Bernstein, M. D. , the results showed that 72% of the votes said that cloning should be prohibited by law. They believe that cloning for any reason would be an unethical and immoral thing to do. A common misconception of cloning is that it is the instantaneous creation of a fully-grown adult from the cells of the individual. Also, that an exact copy, although much younger, of an existing person could be made, reflecting the belief that ones genes bear a simple relationship to the physical and psychological traits that make up a person. This is one point that those against cloning are often worried about.

That the clone would have no soul, no mind, no feelings or emotions of their own, no say in how their life will be with their destiny predetermined for them, and that each individual clone would not be unique. They are also afraid that the clone will not be treated like a person, more like a worthless second copy, or a fill-in for what was there but now is lost. Although the genes do play an important part, its the interaction among a persons genetic inheritance, their environment, memories, different life experiences, and the process of learning that results in the uniqueness of each individual (Mario, Christopher).

The risks involved in cloning people as well as animals are of a much greater magnitude than many people realize. Our society needs to begin weighing in the dangerous consequences before making any solid conclusions, because cloning may wind up costing us much more than we bargained for. The most beneficial result that cloning can present is the ability to create organs. But, we must realize the risks involved as well. There would most likely be many failures before there were to be even one success, and there is no substantial evidence that this would even be possible. So, the risks seem to greatly outweigh any possible benefits.

Genetic Engineering, good and bad

Genetic engineering has some history of good and bad. In 1989as a result of the food supplement Typtophan, 37 people died, 1500 were permanently disabled, and 5000 were very ill as result of high toxin levels in the food. No one knows the future side effects. Such as in August 19994, corn crops grew three inches tall and then suddenly fell over dead, because past crops drained the soil of most nutrients. Genetics have some new applications. They have newer and better-enhanced cells to be bigger and to produce more.

For example soybean companies, they try to get a cell of all or mostly protein. It didnt work to well many people had an allergic reactions. Now scientists are looking and trying to make bigger and better plants. Scientists are also looking for a way to make plants grow twice or three times as big and produce more. That will let them get more crops out of one area of land. Scientists are out to educate people about engineering in plants. To let them know what they are eating. So they dont eat something that a major problem, and most of the public agree to be produced.

Since scientists dont know about the long-term effects, because no long-term tests have been able to conducted. There are some negatives that come with everything but genetic engineering on plants has some pretty good ones. People have unknown reactions to some foods that have been altered. Our public health agencies are powerless to trace problems of any kind, back to the source, because there are no labels. There are unexpected and unknown side effects yet to be discovered. Genetic engineering also has its good side.

We can produce three times as many crops in one field at one time. That will make our plants three times the size. It will also make the food we produce three times as much. This will help people buy making food in good supply year round, and making it cheaper. It will also be good for us because we can genetically engineer food to aid in curing diseases. We will also need to use less land, by producing more food. All in all, genetics engineering is helpful to mankind to cure problems of food shortage and desases.

Genetic Engineering the Church View

A relatively recent issue, genetic engineering has nevertheless become an important enough internationally to cause public debates. The issue is complex, involving many parts and, of course numerous ethical concerns. Some of the parts enveloped by genetic engineering are cloning, modifications of genetic traits, and bioengineering of plants and certain animal to yield better crop and product. Much can be done using genetic engineering.

Although we have a potential to harvest and already do see many advantages as a result of this, a deeper issue looms like a cloud on the horizon: are we prepared for the ramifications involved in this concept that has such high potential? At the center of the issue is the perspective of the Church. And it is through human dignity that religion and cloning are linked. Genetic engineering, and, specifically cloning is deeply an issue of dignity.

For example, the Catholic Church addressed human cloning in 1987, stating that cloning is contrary to the moral law, since it is in opposition to the dignity “both of human procreation and of the conjugal union” (2). Thus, cloning is contrary to our moral and theological beliefs since the normal reproduction does not take course: life is created through neither marriage nor sexual intercourse. God’s plan for us is finding a mate-someone we spend the rest of our life with, have children, pass on our knowledge and genetic material.

God’s plan is for us to have two biological parents-those whose genetic, physical, and mental information comes together to produce a new, different being. Cloning completely disrupts God’s plan. A rather controversial issue, cloning, as most such issues, forces one to take a stand on either moral, ethical, religious, or other grounds. Once faced with such dilemna, various religious movements have had to take such stand, which are rather varied throughout the different faiths. The Catholic Church, for example, has denounced cloning and has specifically called to put a ban on human cloning.

God alone is the master of human life and of its integrity” states Pope John Paul II. “To respect the dignity of man, consequently, amounts to safeguarding this identity of the man “corpore et anima unus,” states the Vatican Council II (3). The biological individuality of a person is untouchable, being made of both spirit and the body.

Some other statements of John Paul II in his address to the World Medical Association: “must not infringe on the origin of human life, that is, procreation linked to the Union, not only biological but also spiritual, of the parents, united by the bond of marriage. must, consequently, respect the fundamental dignity of men and the common biological nature which is at the base of liberty, avoiding manipulations that tend to modify genetic inheritance” However, the Catholic Church is rather ambiguous when time comes for taking a stand on certain other issues. The vagueness of the Catholic Church comes in genetic engineering-no literature was found that details the point of view of the Catholic Church regarding topic such as, for example, genetic crop modification.

The Church of Rome stands for what will benefit man and society, and its well being, and thus it may be safe to assume that enhanced production of crops, more milk, xenotransplantation, and the many benefits we can harvest from genetic modifications the Church does not oppose. Several advocates of the Catholic Church express their views on the matter through the biblical and evolutionary perspective. One scholar points out that crossbreeding is prohibited to maximize diversity: “You shall keep my statutes.

You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed; nor shall there come upon you a garment of cloth made of two kinds of stuff” (Leviticus 19:19). In a Christian tradition, the mixing of DNA is biblically unjust (5). Many Christians are cautious in the genetic alteration of God’s creation. Also according to John Paul II, the dignity of men transcends his biological condition (3). Thus, the dignity is more important than our biological well-being, a reason why cloning is denounced.

Orthodox Christianity has a very similar position along with Islam. Judaism, on the other hand, has a less firm stand on cloning: cloning is allowed unless it is done for reproductive reasons (even then, exceptions are possible). Cloning for therapeutic reasons, for example, is acceptable. Not without some religious conflicts, however of “the oneness of the human person and the duty to heal oneself’ (4). Other religions are most straightforward with other forms of genetic engineering.

The Buddhists, for example, believe in the karma of the body, saying that “the only ethical limit is suffering”, and thus genetic engineering can be used to improve our physical parameters. The body is only a vehicle for karma. If the body has been genetically altered or cloned, it’s really not very important. ” The main concern is to avoid pain and suffering (4). The main concept is ahimsa-“non-harming”-respect for the intrinsic value of all sentient beings, not only human life (6).

According to the Society, Religion, and Technology Project, a part of the Church of Scotland, it not so much that genetic engineering crosses some forbidden line, as that it affects patterns and relationships in the natural world that we still only partially understand (1). It is a web of life that we are messing with-a web we did not create, a web we are merely a part of. What we do to the web we do to ourselves. “In the givenness of the created order, there is a wisdom we do well to respect. Wider relationships matter as much as the single effect desired by the scientist” (1).

In August of 1999, the Church of England was forced to take a stand on the issue of bioengineering after being asked to lease some of its land for planting of crops under scientific trials-genetically modified crops. The Church turned down the request pending a formal inquiry into “the theological implications of genetic modification” (7). Once the inquiry was completed, several issues were recognized: -“God’s diverse creation of beauty and balance is diminished if, by applying knowledge, the choices we make result in more ill than good being visited on our neighbours in creation. ” -“Good science is patient.

Applied with wisdom and integrity it will always seek to magnify God’s Divine Purpose” “if genetic manipulation of a type pertinent to this inquiry is an activity that in principle strays into realms that belong to God, and to God alonethen however beneficial the consequences might be, as Christians we would be required to resist”. -“It remains true however, that human intervention has been pivotal in pursuing scientific and medical revelation over time; discovery and invention are the result of exercising Gods gifts of mind and reason. The possession of these powers is, in part, what it means for humanity to be created “in the image of God”.

Furthermore, the natural order of God’s creation must be recognised and respected, but “unnaturalness” cannot itself be the source of ethical prohibition if the benefits can be shown to be very great. Genetic modification may nonetheless involve some things which ought not to be done today, but which ought not to be ruled out for ever. ” -“Reverence for creation cautions against haste, in favour of humility” (8). The inquiry decided that the Church should continue to support research and those involved in genetic research where the purpose is healing, however each such quest for support must be approved on an individual basis.

Experiments in genetic mutation unconnected with healing, however, “debases human dignity in the sight of God” (8). It has been stated correctly before that one of the roles of the Church is to caution us where it so happens that the pursuit of knowledge and the ability to perform certain techniques outpaces the complete understanding and knowledge of effects. This, in our history, humanity has done many a time. The Church’s role has been that of a prophet, warning us that just because we can do something, does not mean we should.

Embracing the change

A planting season requiring no dangerous herbicides or toxic pesticides. Thousands of dollars saved, because nutritional supplements are now needless. A beef steer reaching market weight in 75 days. The use of medicines nearly nonexistent. Millions of human lives improved and even saved by a sheep’s milk or a pig’s brain cells. Something out of a science fiction novel? A scientist’s unrealistic fantasy? Maybe something that could happen in 500 years? That may be what many of you believe. But right now, these miracles are happening in laboratories all over the world.

The first Genetic Engineering technique, still used today, was the selective breeding of plants and animals, usually for increased food production. In selective breeding only animals with desirable characteristics are chosen for further breeding. Though these practices may have seemed sufficient in the past, they are actually hit and miss cases with little chance of success. Through Biotechnology, breeders choose specific genes. Breeders can also incorporate genes from an unrelated species, giving an animal or plant new features the previously wouldn’t be available.

This system is faster, more exact, cheaper and less likely to fail than traditional methods. Plants can now be engineered to be resistant to pesticides, insects, and diseases. The environmentally-friendly herbicide Glyphosate is very successful in killing weeds, but unfortunately kills crops as well. Crops are now being engineered to be resistant to such herbicides. Grazing crops now have improved nutritional qualities to enhance livestock productivity. Pasture grasses, for instance, that have been developed with Lucerne strains become sulfur rich, which produces higher quality wool.

Genetically Altered animals help scientists discover treatments for a variety of human diseases. Pure human products, such as insulin and Human Growth hormone, can now be produced in commercial quantities. Sheep’s milk is used to produce A1A, an enzyme used in the treatment of emphysema: cow’s milk is used to produce a protein that combats bacterial infections: and goat’s milk is used to produce tPA a blood-clot-dissolving enzyme. Pigs, being easy to raise, have been organ donors to humans for many years. Heart-valves from pigs are being used as replacements for worn-out or diseased human heart-valves.

Recently, pig brain cells have been injected into the brain of people with Parkinson’s disease to replace the brain cells destroyed by this crippling disease. Cattle have been treated to increase milk and beef production, as have pigs to yield more meat and less fat. In the very near future we may be able to produce plants that require less water, can grow in an arid climate, are higher yielding, and carry a higher protein level. Plants will become salt tolerant, so that salt-water can be used for irrigation purposes.

We will be able to protect our farms by allowing reduced and more effective use of chemical pesticides and herbicides, therefore creating a healthier and safer environment. Farm productivity will improve as food production increases in crops and animals, which in return will reduce food costs. Plants and animals both will see increased resistance to disease and external damage. Soon technology will be made available to repair genetic defects, and enhance an effect all ready present, such as an increased growth rate. Transgenic animals may soon be the dominant source of pharmaceuticals.

The need for biotechnology can be seen everyday. Many of us have had crops ruined by the bacterial and viral infection, insects, worms, weeds, and unpredictable weather. Insects are becoming resistant to our most potent chemicals many of which cause biological problems. Millions of dollars are spent on what may become useless chemicals or nutritional supplements for grazing animals. Conventional cross breeding is slow, only similar species can be bred, and it is hit and miss, as well as expensive in time and money. Many questions have been raised over moral and ethical issues involved in biotechnology and engineering.

But most Americans view the coming of genetic technology as they view organ transplants or chemotherapy: there are many practical questions about how the technologies get developed and tested, who needs them, and how we pay for them, but there is no question that they should be made available. Some technologies are so inscribed with harmful ends that no amount of regulation and social direction can make them worth the risk. If I were convinced that genetic technology had no redeeming qualities and only great risks, then I would press for a complete ban. But the potential benefits of genetic technology far outweigh the potential risks.

I believe in a position of critical support, which reflects the suspicious optimism most people around the world have toward genetic technology. In rural Oklahoma, these ideas do seem fictitious. But the benefits for local farmers and ranchers are obvious. Many long time farmers may be incredulous to such changes, but I strongly believe that the vast benefits will convince even the most critical skeptics. Biotechnology, with the correct regulations and experiments, has the potential to launch the agricultural community far into the twenty-first century.

Right now, agriculture creates the main source of income in our nation’s economy. Yet, we are quickly being pushed down to number two by the computer and technology industries. By integrating Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering into our every-day farming lives, we can overcome any and all other industries, and keep our prestigious heights of competition and income. Soon these biological technologies will be used by the best farms and greatest breeders, simply because they choose to “Embrace the Change” as I believe all agriculturists should.

The Human Genome Project

The Human Genome Project is a worldwide research effort with the goal of analyzing the structure of human DNA and determining the location of the estimated 100,000 human genes. The DNA of a set of model organisms will be studied to provide the information necessary for understanding the functioning of the human genome. The information gathered by the human genome project is expected to be the source book for biomedical science in the twenty-first century and will be of great value to the field of medicine.

The project will help us to understand and eventually treat more than 4,000 genetic diseases that ffect mankind. The scientific products of the human genome project will include a resource of genomic maps and DNA sequence information that will provide detailed information about the structure, organization, and characteristics of human DNA, information that constitutes the basic set of inherited “instructions” for the development and functioning of a human being.

The Human Genome Project began in the mid 1980’s and was widely examined within the scientific community and public press through the last half of that decade. In the United States, the Department of Energy (DOE) initially, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) soon after, were the main research agencies within the US government responsible for developing and planning the project. By 1988, the two agencies were working together, an association that was formalized by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to “coordinate research and technical activities related to the human genome”.

The National Center for Human Genome Research (NCHGR) was established in 1989 to head the human genome project for the NIH. NCHGR is one of twenty-four institutes, centers, or divisions that ake up the NIH, the federal government’s main agency for the support of biomedical research. At least sixteen countries have established Human Genome Projects. The Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) and the National Research Council (NRC) prepared a report describing the plans for the US human genome project and is updated as further advances in the underlying technology occur.

To achieve the scientific goals, which together encompass the human genome project, a number of administrative measures have been put in place. In addition, a newsletter, an electronic bulletin board, a comprehensive dministrative data base, and other communications tools are being set up to facilitate communication and tracking of progress. The overall budget needs for the effort are expected to be about $200 million per year for approximately 15 years. Lasers are used in the detection of DNA in many aspects of the project; a very important use is in sorting chromosomes by flow cytometry.

Lasers are also used in confocal fluorescence laser microscopy to excite fluorescently tagged molecules in genome mapping, in addition to other mapping uses. In diagnostic applications, lasers are used with fluorescent probes attached to DNA o light up chromosomes and to create patterns on DNA chips. From the beginning of the human genome project it was clearly recognized that acquisition and use of such genetic knowledge would have momentous involvements for both individuals and society and would pose a number of consequential choices for public and professional deliberation.

As Thomas Lee writes, “the effort underway is unlike anything ever before attempted, if successful, it could lead to our ultimate control of human disease, aging, and death”. Whatever its justification, the human genome project has already nspired society with the hope of “better” babies, and one way to deploy pragmatism in the analysis of genetic engineering is to look at this promise of “better” babies in its social context: parenthood. Parents hope for healthy children and, if they could afford it, make choices (such as choosing parental care) to help “engineer” healthier babies.

Genetic engineering seems in this respect to offer the brightest hope for parents. Through germ-line therapy, disastrous, but genetically discrete diseases, such as Huntington’s and cystic fibrosis could be removed from the DNA of the egg or zygote. Clearly parents would follow the model in choosing to avoid a short, painful life for their children. Another more reasonable fear is that we have not the slightest idea what we are doing and ought to avoid making hasty choices. Hybrid varieties are often impossible to protect from the complexities and dangers of nature.

In the human condition, this is the possibility of making an error and creating a genetically advanced baby who cannot cope with an imperfect world. While much of society reports a willingness to modify DNA for the purpose of heightening intelligence, ducation about genetics and medicine is still in its beginning. Jonathan Glover argues for a “pragmatism of risks and benefits”, writing that, “The debate on human genetic engineering should become like the on nuclear power: one in which large possible benefits have to be weighed against big problems and great disasters”.

One significant element is the assertion that genetic engineering is radically different from any other kind of human medicine, and constitutes interference in a restricted area, trying to “play God”. As Robert Wright notes, “Biologists and ethicists have by now expended housands of words warning about slippery slopes, reflecting on Nazi Germany, and warning that a government quest for a super race could begin anew” if genetic engineering ventures “too far”.

In my opinion, I believe that, if and only if, a deadly disease is detected, then the scientists and/or doctors should tap into the DNA of a zygote or egg for testing and absolute knowledge of the steps of the procedure must be present. I do not believe that there should be a genetically advanced child in the world, everyone is created equal and nobody should have their destiny changed for any reason.

A Summary Of Gene Therapy

Many diseases seen today are the result of a defective gene in the DNA of the patient and can not be cured using the traditional methods such as antibiotics and antiviral medication. The victims are now looking to gene therapy as a potential cure for their problems. Bob Williamson introduces us the concept, procedures, and problems associated with gene therapy in his article, Gene Therapy. Along with the appearance of the recombinant DNA technology, it becomes possible for human beings to isolate, study, and change gene in the laboratory.

Gene Therapy is the process of replacing a defective gene inside a patients DNA with a working gene that will produce the correct gene products. The genetic diseases in which a single known gene does not function properly, such as sickle cell anaemia, thalassaemia and Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, are most suitable to be treated with the gene therapy. There are two types of gene therapy in curing these diseases, patient therapy and embryo therapy.

In the process of the patient therapy, the first step is identifying the defective gene and isolating a normal counterpart. To obtain correct gene action, it may be necessary to put it into the correct site on the host cell chromosome, or even to delete the defective gene, and the DNA can then be replicated each time the host cell divided. But if the new cell is injected directly into the patients body, it will be subject to the bodys immune system that will recognize it as foreign and target it to be destroyed along with the healthy DNA that it is carrying.

So the cells extracted from the patient are to be treated and adding the new gene in a test tube in the laboratory to make sure that the DNA is inserted in an appropriate place in the genome, and the cells can then be returned to the patients body. Now it is possible to offer the parents an antenatal diagnosis to look over if the fetus is affected by some single gene defects. If it does, the parents can choose embryo therapy to cure it rather then abortion.

While the basic process is similar with the one of patient therapy, to do an embryo therapy is a little bit easier than a patient therapy, because the immune rejection system of the embryo is not fully developed. The new DNA will not be ejected, while the former DNA will be altered. Gene therapy seems to be a promising and positive step for the medical community, but ethical questions arise every day as we discover more and more about the contents of the human genome. Does any person, whether well or ill, deserve respect as an individual?

If the answer is affirmative, then carrying out experiments on patients, as Dr. Martin Cline of the University of California attempted to do in 1980, is fundamentally unethical. The clinicians must examine their own consciences and decide whether they behaved correctly and with full knowledge of the proposed treatment. Society has decided that part of it is that a termination of pregnancy before approximately 3 months is allowable if the child would suffer a serious handicap, but how to define a serious handicap.

Is it ethical to terminate the pregnancy, if there is still a chance for the embryo to be normal? As the treatment of an early embryo will alter its inheritance, whether gene therapy poses long-term genetic problems to human inheritance? These are questions that will have to be answered by both the medical community and the patients, and there are no clear precedents at this time. Gene therapy has a promising potential to improve the lives of those who have diseases that have until now been death sentenced, but to take it into real practice human beings still have a long way to go.

Genetic Engineering, history and future Altering the Face of Science

Science is a creature that continues to evolve at a much higher rate than the beings that gave it birth. The transformation time from tree-shrew, to ape, to human far exceeds the time from analytical engine, to calculator, to computer. But science, in the past, has always remained distant. It has allowed for advances in production, transportation, and even entertainment, but never in history will science be able to so deeply affect our lives as genetic engineering will undoubtedly do.

With the birth of this new technology, scientific extremists and anti-technologists have risen in arms to block its budding future. Spreading fear by misinterpretation of facts, they promote their hidden agendas in the halls of the United States congress. Genetic engineering is a safe and powerful tool that will yield unprecedented results, specifically in the field of medicine. It will usher in a world where gene defects, bacterial disease, and even aging are a thing of the past.

By understanding genetic engineering and its history, discovering its possibilities, and answering the moral and safety questions it brings forth, the blanket of fear covering this remarkable technical miracle can be lifted. The first step to understanding genetic engineering, and embracing its possibilities for society, is to obtain a rough knowledge base of its history and method. The basis for altering the evolutionary process is dependant on the understanding of how individuals pass on characteristics to their offspring.

Genetics achieved its first foothold on the secrets of nature’s evolutionary process when an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel developed the first “laws of heredity. ” Using these laws, scientists studied the characteristics of organisms for most of the next one hundred years following Mendel’s discovery. These early studies concluded that each organism has two sets of character determinants, or genes (Stableford 16). For instance, in regards to eye color, a child could receive one set of genes from his father that were encoded one blue, and the other brown.

The same child could also receive two brown genes from his mother. The conclusion for this inheritance would be the child has a three in four chance of having brown eyes, and a one in three chance of having blue eyes (Stableford 16). Genes are transmitted through chromosomes which reside in the nucleus of every living organism’s cells. Each chromosome is made up of fine strands of deoxyribonucleic acids, or DNA. The information carried on the DNA determines the cells function within the organism.

Sex cells are the only cells that contain a complete DNA map of the organism, therefore, “the structure of a DNA molecule or combination of DNA molecules determines the shape, form, and function of the [organism’s] offspring ” (Lewin 1). DNA discovery is attributed to the research of three scientists, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and James Dewey Watson in 1951. They were all later accredited with the Nobel Price in physiology and medicine in 1962 (Lewin 1). “The new science of genetic engineering aims to take a dramatic short cut in the slow process of evolution” (Stableford 25).

In essence, scientists aim to remove one gene from an organism’s DNA, and place it into the DNA of another organism. This would create a new DNA strand, full of new encoded instructions; a strand that would have taken Mother Nature millions of years of natural selection to develop. Isolating and removing a desired gene from a DNA strand involves many different tools. DNA can be broken up by exposing it to ultra-high-frequency sound waves, but this is an extremely inaccurate way of isolating a desirable DNA section (Stableford 26).

A more accurate way of DNA splicing is the use of “restriction enzymes, which are produced by various species of bacteria” (Clarke 1). The restriction enzymes cut the DNA strand at a particular location called a nucleotide base, which makes up a DNA molecule. Now that the desired portion of the DNA is cut out, it can be joined to another strand of DNA by using enzymes called ligases. The final important step in the creation of a new DNA strand is giving it the ability to self-replicate.

This can be accomplished by using special pieces of DNA, called vectors, that permit the generation of multiple copies of a total DNA strand and fusing it to the newly created DNA structure. Another newly developed method, called polymerase chain reaction, allows for faster replication of DNA strands and does not require the use of vectors (Clarke 1). The possibilities of genetic engineering are endless. Once the power to control the instructions, given to a single cell, are mastered anything can be accomplished.

For example, insulin can be created and grown in large quantities by using an inexpensive gene manipulation method of growing a certain bacteria. This supply of insulin is also not dependant on the supply of pancreatic tissue from animals. Recombinant factor VIII, the blood clotting agent missing in people suffering from hemophilia, can also be created by genetic engineering. Virtually all people who were treated with factor VIII before 1985 acquired HIV, and later AIDS.

Being completely pure, the bioengineered version of factor VIII eliminates any possibility of viral infection. Other uses of genetic engineering include creating disease resistant crops, formulating milk from cows already containing pharmaceutical compounds, generating vaccines, and altering livestock traits (Clarke 1). In the not so distant future, genetic engineering will become a principal player in fighting genetic, bacterial, and viral disease, along with controlling aging, and providing replaceable parts for humans. Medicine has seen many new innovations in its history.

The discovery of anesthetics permitted the birth of modern surgery, while the production of antibiotics in the 1920s minimized the threat from diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and cholera. The creation of serums which build up the bodies immune system to specific infections, before being laid low with them, has also enhanced modern medicine greatly (Stableford 59). All of these discoveries, however, will fall under the broad shadow of genetic engineering when it reaches its apex in the medical community. Many people suffer from genetic diseases ranging from thousands of types of cancers, to blood, liver, and lung disorders.

Amazingly, all of these will be able to be treated by genetic engineering, specifically, gene therapy. The basis of gene therapy is to supply a functional gene to cells lacking that particular function, thus correcting the genetic disorder or disease. There are two main categories of gene therapy: germ line therapy, or altering of sperm and egg cells, and somatic cell therapy, which is much like an organ transplant. Germ line therapy results in a permanent change for the entire organism, and its future offspring. Unfortunately, germ line therapy, is not readily in use on humans for ethical reasons.

However, this genetic method could, in the future, solve many genetic birth defects such as downs syndrome. Somatic cell therapy deals with the direct treatment of living tissues. Scientists, in a lab, inject the tissues with the correct, functioning gene and then re-administer them to the patient, correcting the problem (Clarke 1). Along with altering the cells of living tissues, genetic engineering has also proven extremely helpful in the alteration of bacterial genes. Transforming bacterial cells is easier than transforming the cells of complex organisms” (Stableford 34).

Two reasons are evident for this ease of manipulation: DNA enters, and functions easily in bacteria, and the transformed bacteria cells can be easily selected out from the untransformed ones. Bacterial bioengineering has many uses in our society, it can produce synthetic insulins, a growth hormone for the treatment of dwarfism and interferons for treatment of cancers and viral diseases (Stableford 34). Throughout the centuries disease has plagued the world, forcing everyone to take part in a virtual “lottery with the agents of death” (Stableford 59).

Whether viral or bacterial in nature, such disease are currently combated with the application of vaccines and antibiotics. These treatments, however, contain many unsolved problems. The difficulty with applying antibiotics to destroy bacteria is that natural selection allows for the mutation of bacteria cells, sometimes resulting in mutant bacterium which is resistant to a particular antibiotic. This now indestructible bacterial pestilence wages havoc on the human body. Genetic engineering is conquering this medical dilemma by utilizing diseases that target bacterial organisms.

These diseases are viruses, named bacteriophages, “which can be produced to attack specific disease-causing bacteria” (Stableford 61). Much success has already been obtained by treating animals with a “phage” designed to attack the E. coli bacteria (Stableford 60). Diseases caused by viruses are much more difficult to control than those caused by bacteria. Viruses are not whole organisms, as bacteria are, and reproduce by hijacking the mechanisms of other cells. Therefore, any treatment designed to stop the virus itself, will also stop the functioning of its host cell.

A virus invades a host cell by piercing it at a site called a “receptor”. Upon attachment, the virus injects its DNA into the cell, coding it to reproduce more of the virus. After the virus is replicated millions of times over, the cell bursts and the new viruses are released to continue the cycle. The body’s natural defense against such cell invasion is to release certain proteins, called antigens, which “plug up” the receptor sites on healthy cells. This causes the foreign virus to not have a docking point on the cell.

This process, however, is slow and not effective against a new viral attack. Genetic engineering is improving the body’s defenses by creating pure antigens, or antibodies, in the lab for injection upon infection with a viral disease. This pure, concentrated antibody halts the symptoms of such a disease until the bodies natural defenses catch up. Future procedures may alter the very DNA of human cells, causing them to produce interferons. These interferons would allow the cell to be able determine if a foreign body bonding with it is healthy or a virus.

In effect, every cell would be able to recognize every type of virus and be immune to them all (Stableford 61). Current medical capabilities allow for the transplant of human organs, and even mechanical portions of some, such as the battery powered pacemaker. Current science can even re-apply fingers after they have been cut off in accidents, or attach synthetic arms and legs to allow patients to function normally in society. But would not it be incredibly convenient if the human body could simply regrow what it needed, such as a new kidney or arm?

Genetic engineering can make this a reality. Currently in the world, a single plant cell can differentiate into all the components of an original, complex organism. Certain types of salamanders can re-grow lost limbs, and some lizards can shed their tails when attacked and later grow them again. Evidence of regeneration is all around and the science of genetic engineering is slowly mastering its techniques. Regeneration in mammals is essentially a kind of “controlled cancer”, called a blastema.

The cancer is deliberately formed at the regeneration site and then converted into a structure of functional tissues. But before controlling the blastema is possible, “a detailed knowledge of the switching process by means of which the genes in the cell nucleus are selectively activated and deactivated” is needed (Stableford 90). To obtain proof that such a procedure is possible one only needs to examine an early embryo and realize that it knows whether to turn itself into an ostrich or a human.

After learning the procedure to control and activate such regeneration, genetic engineering will be able to conquer such ailments as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other crippling diseases without grafting in new tissues. The broader scope of this technique would allow the re-growth of lost limbs, repairing any damaged organs internally, and the production of spare organs by growing them externally (Stableford 90). Ever since biblical times the lifespan of a human being has been pegged at roughly 70 years.

But is this number truly finite? In order to uncover the answer, knowledge of the process of aging is needed. A common conception is that the human body contains an internal biological clock which continues to tick for about 70 years, then stops. An alternate “watch” analogy could be that the human body contains a certain type of alarm clock, and after so many years, the alarm sounds and deterioration beings. With that frame of thinking, the human body does not begin to age until a particular switch is tripped.

In essence, stopping this process would simply involve a means of never allowing the switch to be tripped. W. Donner Denckla, of the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, proposes the alarm clock theory is true. He provides evidence for this statement by examining the similarities between normal aging and the symptoms of a hormonal deficiency disease associated with the thyroid gland. Denckla proposes that as we get older the pituitary gland begins to produce a hormone which blocks the actions of the thyroid hormone, thus causing the body to age and eventually die.

If Denckla’s theory is correct, conquering aging would simply be a process of altering the pituitary’s DNA so it would never be allowed to release the aging hormone. In the years to come, genetic engineering may finally defeat the most unbeatable enemy in the world, time (Stableford 94). The morale and safety questions surrounding genetic engineering currently cause this new science to be cast in a false light. Anti-technologists and political extremists spread false interpretation of facts coupled with statements that genetic engineering is not natural and defies the natural order of things.

The morale question of biotechnology can be answered by studying where the evolution of man is, and where it is leading our society. The safety question can be answered by examining current safety precautions in industry, and past safety records of many bioengineering projects already in place. The evolution of man can be broken up into three basic stages. The first, lasting millions of years, slowly shaped human nature from Homo erectus to Home sapiens. Natural selection provided the means for countless random mutations resulting in the appearance of such human characteristics as hands and feet.

The second stage, after the full development of the human body and mind, saw humans moving from wild foragers to an agriculture based society. Natural selection received a helping hand as man took advantage of random mutations in nature and bred more productive species of plants and animals. The most bountiful wheats were collected and re-planted, and the fastest horses were bred with equally faster horses. Even in our recent history the strongest black male slaves were mated with the hardest working female slaves.

The third stage, still developing today, will not require the chance acquisition of super-mutations in nature. Man will be able to create such super-species without the strict limitations imposed by natural selection. By examining the natural slope of this evolution, the third stage is a natural and inevitable plateau that man will achieve (Stableford 8). This omniscient control of our world may seem completely foreign, but the thought of the Egyptians erecting vast pyramids would have seem strange to Homo erectus as well.

Many claim genetic engineering will cause unseen disasters spiraling our world into chaotic darkness. However, few realize that many safety nets regarding bioengineering are already in effect. The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) was formed under the National Institute of Health to provide guidelines for research on engineered bacteria for industrial use. The RAC has also set very restrictive guidelines requiring Federal approval if research involves pathogenicity (the rare ability of a microbe to cause disease) (Davis, Roche 69). “It is well established that most natural bacteria do not cause disease.

After many years of experimentation, microbiologists have demonstrated that they can engineer bacteria that are just as safe as their natural counterparts” (Davis, Rouche 70). In fact the RAC reports that “there has not been a single case of illness or harm caused by recombinant [engineered] bacteria, and they now are used safely in high school experiments” (Davis, Rouche 69). Scientists have also devised other methods of preventing bacteria from escaping their labs, such as modifying the bacteria so that it will die if it is removed from the laboratory environment.

This creates a shield of complete safety for the outside world. It is also thought that if such bacteria were to escape it would act like smallpox or anthrax and ravage the land. However, laboratory-created organisms are not as competitive as pathogens. Davis and Roche sum it up in extremely laymen’s terms, “no matter how much Frostban you dump on a field, it’s not going to spread” (70). In fact Frostbran, developed by Steven Lindow at the University of California, Berkeley, was sprayed on a test field in 1987 and was proven by a RAC committee to be completely harmless (Thompson 104).

Fear of the unknown has slowed the progress of many scientific discoveries in the past. The thought of man flying or stepping on the moon did not come easy to the average citizens of the world. But the fact remains, they were accepted and are now an everyday occurrence in our lives. Genetic engineering too is in its period of fear and misunderstanding, but like every great discovery in history, it will enjoy its time of realization and come into full use in society.

Genetically Modified Foods: To Eat Or Not To Eat

Genetically modified (GM) foods have been around for quite some time. Chances are, just about everyone has eaten some type of GM food product. With the new and developing technologies that the biotechnology industry has to offer, the GM food market has risen in leaps and bounds. A genetically modified food is a food that has had its genetic make-up altered in some way by DNA technology. It can involve the transfer of genes from one organism to another or be sprayed with a genetically designed pesticide. The characteristics of the product may or may not emain the same depending on which genes have been altered.

Some changes that are often seen include their color, flavor, texture, and their ability to resist insects and tolerate herbicides. The use of this science has given rise to much conflict in the public sector and has scared many consumers. As biotechnologists, it is our job to educate the public and inform them of the risks or lack of risks in genetically modified foods. Introduction With a growing world population and the race to be the first to develop the next technological break through, the area of genetic manipulation has ecome a popular area for discovery.

The agricultural industry is very open and excited for the introduction of new technologies that will provide them with a much higher yield and an overall better quality product. Many of the suppliers that use these agricultural products have become skeptical and cautious when buying from the farmers due to the media and government regulating bodies. The most powerful body that will make or break this field is the consumers. If people will not buy the products at the store, then the market for GM food will dissolve.

In this paper we will discuss ome of the risks and benefits of genetically modified foods and hear positions in favor of, and in opposition to such products. Positions and Discussion To eat or not to eat, that is the question. How often do you think of genetics or biotechnology as you are enjoying your favorite foods? Does gene splicing ever cross your mind as you slice tomatoes, or do you ever think about growth hormones as you sink your teeth into that juicy steak? Not very often if you are like most people, but perhaps you should. Many of the items you eat have been genetically modified by using biotechnology in ome way.

These products are often referred to as GMOs (genetically modified organisms). There are several different types of modified foods. Designer foods are processed foods that are supplemented with ingredients rich in disease preventing substances by genetic engineering. Functional foods are any modified food that may provide health benefits. Biotechnology and the human understanding of it have allowed for great advances in the world of agriculture. Perhaps one of the best advances is GM foods. By altering one or a few genes scientists can create a more user friendly and elpful organism.

The first genetically modified plants were introduced experimentally in 1982. Since then, different combinations and varieties have been tested and the first of these crops became commercially available in 1996. Some people are frightened by this new technology and feel these foods are unsafe. ” The ability to splice genetic sequences into living organisms where they would not normally be found raises fears that we are somehow creating Frankenstein-like versions of corn or unleashing something that we will not be able to control”. (Mainschein, J. (01-01-2000).

Who’s in Charge of the Gene Genie?. The World & I, 84. ) The main reason that genetically engineered food could be dangerous is because there has been no adequate testing to ensure that altering genes that perform an apparently useful function as part of that plant or animal is going to have the same effects if inserted into a totally unrelated plant or animal. Cross- breeding by farmers and evolution by Nature, has always involved gene transfer between similar species, not completely different species like a fish and a potato, which is alarming to the public.

It may be that in the ong term, genetically modified food could provide us with benefits and be a safe alternative, but we cannot know that at this time due to the lack of safety testing. All over the world, scientists, ordinary citizens and farmers have raised concerns about the rush of Genetic Engineering technologies in our food chain. While some are completely against it, others are urging more cautious approaches. Regardless, they all want the ability to actually determine that GE technologies are proven safe for consumption.

There have been all sorts of campaigns and actions around the world in rotest of GMOs. Britain has taken measures to stop anti-GM protests by creating two political commissions to advise and monitor the effects of genetically modified foods and crops. After investigation by the British government GM foods were found to be non-harmful. They did inflict a “public health surveillance network. ” This group will report any problems, such as things from allergic reactions to deaths.

As the government prepared and released this information the British Medical Association released an anti-GM report. They were concerned about long term health problems GM foods could cause. This group called for a moratorium on planting GM crops until there is scientific proof of effects of GM products. In this report they also called for strict labeling of all GM products. The Mexican Senate has also taken measures to ensure the public knows what they are eating. The Mexican government has passed a bill that requires all genetically modified products to be labeled.

This bill does not require a halt in producing these GM foods and products. It asks manufactures to identify and provide information about their product. Another country that is requiring labels on GM foods is the United Kingdom. Since 1998 and before, campaigners in the UK have been putting increasing amounts of pressure on supermarkets and trying to raise awareness with consumers. The new bill now requires restaurants and supermarkets to identify any products, meals, or foods that have been genetically modified.

This gives consumers the right to boycott such products as they wish. In Australia, a panel of people who did not have prior knowledge about genetic engineering, delivered a report to the president of the Australian Senate. After hearing views of experts on both sides of the argument, the Senate is ow acting to require labeling of GE Food and to generally take a more precautionary stand on genetically modified foods being sold to the consumer. I think the US could learn from the policies of other countries.

A committee like the one in Britain would allow authorities to get involved with the details of biotechnology and they would become very educated on the details of how things work. Based on this new system, better, more educated decisions could be made on behalf of the general population. The long term effects of eating these genetically modified foods are truly unknown. Even if there was some way of testing the long term affects to humans, animals and the environment, we still may never know the total benefits or problems which may come from these modified foods or organisms unless we take a chance to try them.

It may be that genetically modified food can benefit us a great deal, but we cannot know that at this time because not enough testing has not been done. Most scientists do claim that GE food may be very safe, but mention that the long term effects are still unknown. So the question given to the consumer is “To eat or not to eat” these genetically modified products. Next to human risks, which I will address later, are the issues surrounding the environment. There are many potential risks on the environment posed by genetic modification of food products.

GM food critics say that releasing GM food crops could cause cross- pollination between non-GM foods creating new “dangerous” types of plants. One such possibility has been called a “super weed. ” This super weed with its genetic novelty could become more resistant to herbicides and pesticides. Independent studies have shown that cross-pollination occurs at distances greater than 10 meters (AgrEvo ’99). Some scientists recommend sterility to keep this issue under control, but long-term sterility can never be 100% (Holden ’99).

Super weeds could wipe out natural flora by competing and disturbing the natural biodiversity. Wiping out plants that animals rely on could lead to species dying out. New crops, such as, roundup ready soy beans have been designed to accept heavier doses of pesticides. These chemicals and other harmful farming treatments could find their way into our water and food supplies. This could lead to resistant insects and/or the extinction of useful insects that we rely on for our balanced ecosystems. At an extreme perspective, this could turn our land into a biological desert.

In the future, our genetic engineering will provide food quality improvements. These improvements may include better tasting and healthier foods. Crops can now be produced with fewer pesticides while increasing the crop’s abilities to fight pesticides and disease. Genetically modified crops encourage new farming techniques preserving precious topsoil, reducing greenhouse gases, soil erosion and runoff. GM crops increase yield, food production on farmlands and provide more for the increasing population globally. This increase can be felt tremendously by starving third world countries.

Developments can also allow for agricultural development in areas that have been difficult in the past. GM foods can suit Australia’s climate and tolerate water, temperature, and saline extremes. The modified food products can also be an effective tool for cancer research and vaccines. With these new improvements, new foods could be introduced (Monsanto ’99) to compete in domestic and export markets. Risks and benefits need to be outlined for the public to see to promote a sense of honesty and build an educating trust.

Genetic Engineering Report

Two years ago Scottish scientists announced that they had successfully cloned a sheep. They named it dolly and it was an exact copy of the original sheep. Is cloning morally right? Is it ethical? Some people think that it is wrong and that it shouldnt be practiced on any animal. In this report I will tell you about genetics, cloning and whether I think it is wrong or right. Genetics Is the study of a persons genes or ancestry. Genealogists can tell you where your ancestors immigrated to America from. They can also tell you why you have a certain color hair or why you are shorter than everyone.

Genes will determine how short you are and what your personality is like. They are the building blocks of life. You will get a gene from your mom and your dad. they will combine to make a single gene. Gene types are represented by letters, capital letters and lower case. A capital letter stands For a dominant trait and a lower case stands for a recessive trait. When a capital letter and a lower case letter are mixed it is called a hybrid and the dominant trait will take over and the baby will turn out like the parent with the dominant trait.

Cloning is a method of making a copy of a cell. the cell may belong to a animal or a human. In a very brief way it works like this. You take an egg, and remove the nucleus, and by doing this you are removing of the eggs genes. Then, you take a nucleus from a cell belonging to the first sheep. You put the cells nucleus into the egg. You then electrically trick the reconstructed egg into believing that is a fertilized egg so it will divide and become an embryo.

When the embryo has reached a certain stage, you transfer it to the uterus of a surrogate mother. Then the clone is born the usual way, looking and acting just like a regular healthy baby. Thats how Dolly the sheep was created. Today Dolly is a normal, healthy sheep, who has had four children, and they are just as healthy. After researching the topic, I believe that cloning is okay. I think that some day it will lead to great breakthroughs in the medical and scientific worlds.

Of course that I do not think that there should be any restrictions to practice cloning. I think that you must have permission from the government and you must have a Medical diploma. Also, you must have watched the procedure at least 3 times and take a lengthy test on the process of cloning. Right now there are many laws against cloning and it is outlawed in every country. All in all, cloning is safe and easy process. It is not cruel and should be legal to practice, but, of course not without restrictions.

Genetics and Teeth

The article I read was about some scientists that were able to grow teeth inside rats bodies. This project was led by Pamela C. Yelick, a scientist for Forsyth Institute, and the project was conducted in Massachusetts. Joseph P. Vacanti, a tissue engineer at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Yelick had the idea for the experiment. Vacanti had previously worked with rats and he found that cells will naturally organize themselves into tissues and other complex structures if they are placed in the right environment. Vacanti and Yelick hypothesized that the same approach could be applied to growing teeth.

Previous research had identified the stem cells that make dentin, but no one had been able to use the stem cells that make tooth enamel prior to this experiment. The teeth were formed inside the bellies of rats using stem cells from pigs. Yelick obtained the cells from discarded pig jaws at a meat packing plant. The scientists removed a molar that had not yet erupted from the pig jaw to use for the project. They ground the molar into small pieces and treated it with enzymes to break it down into small patches of cells. The cells were then placed into a scaffold and implanted into the rats.

The scientists placed the scaffolds in the blood-rich tissue near the rats intestines. This area provided the nutrients that the cells needed to grow. The rats used in the experiment had weakened immune systems that would not reject the foreign tissue. At that point, the researchers could only wait for the teeth to grow. As an added precaution, the rats were placed in a special clean room behind locked doors. The researchers would periodically x-ray the rats to see if anything had grown, but it was not until after several months that they actually found encouraging splotches inside the rats.

This article showed that we can use stem cells to create tooth enamel that we can use for new teeth and other dental needs in the future. Before this project, the idea of creating teeth using stem cells was only a thought. In class we talked about the creation of human organs inside of animals, cloning animals, and cloning humans, but we had not mentioned cloning teeth. Cloning humans brought up many ethical issues, but I do not think cloning teeth would pose any problems. The information in this article seems biased. The Boston Globe is definitely not a scientific journal.

There are no negative points about the procedure in the article and the writer only obtained information from people that were directly involved in the project. I am interested in hearing what other scientists in the industry have to say about these findings. This project was consistent with the scientific method. I think the original observation was How can we grow teeth in a lab? Yelick and Vacanti then hypothesized that they could grow teeth using the same methods that are used to grow new tissue. The experiment consisted of placing the scaffold in the rat to try to grow the teeth.

Their conclusion is simply that the cells were able to grow teeth inside the rats bodies. It is hard to say that conclusions were drawn logically from the evidence. The article mentions that the scientists saw something on the x-rays that looked whiter than bone. The article does not mention if it was definitely a tooth and if it is a tooth how accurately the tooth was grown. This study raises many future questions. The researchers still need to figure out how to increase the size of the teeth and how to make the roots grow. They also need to figure out how to move the technology from pigs to human patients.

The pigs immune system will need to be compatible with a humans immune system in order to effectively grow the new teeth. We also need to know if the tooth will survive when moved to the human, if there are any side effects, and how long the tooth will last. This experiment could obviously bring about great rewards in the future. I am all for continuing research on this project and I hope that the scientists continue to show progress. Genetically created teeth are far from the argument of playing God and it could only help those in need of special dental care.

Genetic Engineering in Eugenics

“Those who are ignorant to history are destined to repeat it. ” Although genetic engineering is an entirely new field, it brings up issues, especially in eugenics, that society has previously had to deal with. It gives people the power to change many aspects of nature and could result in a lot of life-saving and preventative treatments. However, if this power is misused or abused, the damage could be very great. Therefore, although genetic engineering is a field that should be explored, it needs to be strictly regulated and tested before being put into widespread use.

Some say that people have been trying to change and manipulate nature for many years and that genetic engineering is only an expansion of what has been done. They feel that whatever genetic engineering allows us to do, it is just a natural step in the process. However, in the past, people have been limited by nature and the boundaries that it has set. Until now, people have never had the capability of getting past these boundaries completely. Although occasionally the species boundary has been crossed, nature has set its limits.

For example, scientists have been able to cross the horse and donkey to create the mule, but its reproduction has been restricted by it being sterile. With genetic engineering, however, changes can be made at the genetic level and these limits could be completely ignored. If a limit is not set between using genetic engineering for treatment and using genetic engineering for enhancement, then many parents could use it purely for eugenic purposes. One survey done by researchers showed that eleven percent of couples would abort a child predisposed to obesity.

With genetic engineering they could decide to substitute their childs undesirable characteristics for more desirable ones in order to “customize” their children. This could not only cause ethical concerns but social concerns as well. If this was allowed to occur, it would also give the rich even more advantages than they already have to begin with and drive the social classes even farther apart. The use of genetic engineering may also lead to genetic discrimination. In the future a person could easily get a print-out of his or her genotype.

This same information could then be used by schools, employers, insurance companies, and others, giving rise to a new form of discrimination based on a persons genetic profile. Already, insurance companies and others are using information from genetic tests or a persons genetic background for discrimination. One survey of people who are at risk for certain diseases showed that 455 out of 917 said that they had experienced some sort of genetic discrimination. One family lost their entire coverage when the insurance company discovered that one of its four children had fragile X disease.

Parents could also encounter discrimination based on their decision of whether or not to use genetic engineering for their children. If a couple decides not to test for a genetic disorder or decides not to use genetic therapy even if only for treatment, then if their child is born with a disorder they could be criticized and held responsible for not correcting something that could have been prevented. In order to avoid having the decision of what to do if their child has a genetic disorder, some people might opt for prevention and avoid marrying someone of the wrong “genotype”.

Currently, in the Orthodox Jewish community of the United States, people are encouraged to be tested for the Tay-Sachs gene. This information is then stored in a large database and is used when people are searching for someone to marry. Genetic engineering also involves more than just social and ethical concerns. The implications of using genetic engineering are not fully known and the dangers involved are unpredictable. Just one example of this is in the case where scientists are raising pigs with human organs in order to help fill the constant demand.

However, these xenotransplantations could provide ideal conditions for animal pathogens to jump over from animals to humans creating dangerous new diseases and perhaps even an AIDS 2 or AIDS 3. Without extensive testing the effects that procedures like this could have would be unthinkable. By experimenting with and trying to make nature better or more useful, one is playing with a very delicate balance that can have tremendous effects if it is thrown off. It is evident that there are many benefits that can come about from the use of genetic engineering.

However, a line needs to be drawn as to what point one goes from treating to enhancing. If a line is not drawn then fixing “flaws” can become a dangerous role when one considers that every human has a number of lethal recessive genes. It may be possible in the future to create a near “perfect” human, but if this is the goal, then each person is only seen as having a certain number of mistakes that need to be fixed. Without certain restrictions, the implications may be very far-reaching and unpredictable dangers may exist; if genetic engineering is strictly controlled, however, the results may be extremely beneficial.

Molecular Biotechnology In Life

If you have had a can of soft drink, ate a fruit, or took some head ache medicine this morning – then it’s very likely you have used a genetically enhanced product. Genetics is a part of biotechnology that manipulates biological organisms to make products that benefit humankind. Biotechnology is essential in our life, but there are some concerns regarding its safety. Although, biotechnology may pose some danger it is proving to be very beneficial to humankind. The first applications of biotechnology occurred approximately around 5000 BC. Back then people used simple breeding methods.

Chains of plants r animals were crossed to produce greater genetic variety. The hybridized offspring then were selectively bred to produce the desired traits. For example, for about 7000 years, corn has been selectively bred for increased kernel size and additional nutrition value. Also, through selective breeding, cattle and pigs have become the major sources of animal foods for human (Encarta 99). The modern era of biotechnology started in 1953 when British biophysicist Francis Crick and American biochemist James Watson presented their double-stranded model of DNA.

DNA is an extensive, chain-like structure made up of nucleotides, and in way it looks like a twisted rope ladder (Drlica 27). In 1960 Swiss microbiologist Werner Arber had discovered restriction enzymes. This special kind of enzymes can cut DNA of an organism at precise points. In 1973 American scientists Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer removed a specific gene from one bacterium and inserted it into another using restriction enzymes. This achievement served as foundation to recombinant DNA technology, which is commonly called genetic engineering.

Recombinant DNA technology is a transfer of a specifically coded gene of one organism into bacteria. Further, the host acteria serve as a biologic factory by reproducing the transferred gene. Today biotechnology’s applications are used in a variety of areas. It’s used in waste management for creation of biodegradable materials, in agriculture for higher yields and quality, in medicine for production of advanced pharmaceuticals, cloning tissues and curing genetic diseases. However there is a down side to genetic engineering. It deals with dangerous bacteria which could escape the boundaries of a lab and possibly cause epidemics.

Moreover, if a transgenic organism escapes, it could eliminate a range of species and thus disrupt natural alance. Since biotechnology is a necessity, some government guidelines were established for strict regulation of recombinant DNA experiments (Encarta 99). Agriculture is the largest business in the world, with assets of approximately $900 billion and about 15 million employees. Back in the 80’s, there was a concern, based on population growth rates, that by the turn of the century traditional agriculture would be in a serious trouble (Hanson 68).

But due to the revolutionary development of biotechnology during last couple of decades agriculture has drastically advanced. Sensational achievements were made in both lant cultivation and animal husbandry. The modification of plants has become one of the most important aspects in agriculture. Increased crop yields can be achieved through the increase of land, or increased yield per tract. Land is expensive and should be used efficiently, to do so – large quantities of fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides and frequent irrigation may be necessary.

Due to the increase in petroleum cost – prices for nitrogen fertilizers continuously rise. Herbicides and pesticides are considered to be hazardous and very costly materials. Moreover, recurrent irrigation gradually leads to serious damage of he soil due to the salt accumulation. Eventually, increased amounts of salt in the soil result in large losses of crops (Hanson 69). Biotechnology can incorporate genes that are resistant to environmental stress, viruses, and insects. Such modified plants will be resistant to the same factors as the incorporated gene.

Crop plants could be genetically engineered to manufacture functional insecticides so that they are immanently tolerant to insects. No hazardous and costly pesticides are needed for such plants resulting in very low crop maintenance costs. Moreover, biological insecticides are highly specific or a range of insects and considered to be harmless to humans and other higher animals (Glick and Pasternak 341). Plant viruses very often attack crops and cause significant damage and loss of crops.

Recombinant DNA technology offers a few ways to obtain natural virus resistance: viral transmission can be blocked, development of the virus can be blocked, or viral symptoms can be bypassed or resisted (Glick and Pasternak 345). Biotechnology also contributes to the development of plants with higher tolerance to environmental changes. Plants cannot avoid hazardous environmental conditions such as heat, drought, and UV adiation, so they have developed physiological ways to deal with those stresses. One of the undesirable effects of physiological stress is production of oxygen radicals.

Trough the use of recombinant DNA technology some plants are given the ability to tolerate high levels of oxygen radicals, these plants are capable of withstanding a various range of environmental stress (Glick and Pasternak 350). Another important area of biotechnology is improvement of livestock. Many generations of selective matings are required to improve livestock and other domesticated animals genetically for traits such as milk ield, wool characteristics, rate of weight gain, and egg laying frequency. At each successive generation, animals with superior performance characteristics are used as breeding stock.

Eventually, high production animals are developed as more or less pure breeding lines. This combination of mating and selection, although time-consuming and costly, has been exceptionally successful. Today almost all aspects of the biological basis of livestock production can be attributed to this process. However, once an effective genetic line has been established, it becomes difficult to introduce new genetic traits by selective reeding methods (Glick and Pasternak 359). Until recently, the only way to enhance genetic properties of domesticated animals was selective breeding.

However, research in new areas of biotechnology lead to the development of new technologies and almost completely replaced traditional methodologies. Using recombinant DNA technology, scientists are able to insert a specific cloned gene in to the nucleus of fertilized egg of a higher organism. Then the fertilized egg is implanted into a receptive female. Most of the offspring derived from the implanted eggs will have the cloned gene in all their cells. The animals with he transgenic gene in their germ line are bred to establish new superior genetic lines.

For example if the injected gene stimulates growth, the animals that received the gene would grow faster and require less food. Even if consumption of food was cut down by only a few percent – it still would have a profound effect on lowering the cost of production and the price of final product (Glick and Pasternak 361). Another area that benefits from biotechnology is medicine. This particular sector of biotechnology had risen from about $6 billion share of global market in 1983 (Hanson 66) to about $100 billion in 1997 (“The Biotech Boom” 89).

McDonald states that “today, there are more than 2,200 drugs that are in development and 234 awaiting approval from FDA” (91). The primary reasons for such rapid development are millions of deaths each year caused by disease, viruses, and genetic disorders. Biotechnology is widely used in pharmacy to create more efficient and less expensive drugs. Recombinant DNA technology is used for production of specific enzymes, which enhance the rate of production of particular range of antibodies in the organism (Hanson 67).

Antibiotics produced using such technology have very specific effects and cause fewer side effects. Also, using similar methods a range of vaccines can be created. Currently, scientists are working on vaccines for fatal illnesses such as AIDS, hepatitis, malaria, flu, and even some forms of cancer. Shrof expects that in the near future vaccines will come in more convenient ways “some will come in the form of mouthwash; others will be swallowed in time-release capsules, avoiding the need for boosters. ” (57).

Some genetically altered foods that will convey antigens against some disease are expected to be available in about five years (“Miracle Vaccines” 57,67). Genetic disease could be treated through he use of genetic engineering. Defective genes in an organism cause genetic disorders. If a defective gene could be identified and located in a particular group of cells – it could be replaced with a functional one. The transgenic cells are then planted into the organism, resulting in a cure of the disorder (Jackson and Stich 64,65).

Cloning is a relatively new sector of biotechnology, but it promises answers to very important problems related to surgery. Tissues and organs could be cloned for surgical purposes. If scientists could isolate stem cells, (stem cells have a potential to grow into any kind of tissue or rgan) and then direct their development, they would be able to create any kind of a tissue, organ or even a whole part of a body (“On the Horizon” 89). In a way, biotechnology is just like one of its products – for all the positive effects of biotechnology there are some possible side effects.

The double-stranded molecule of DNA, originally honored for its intelligibility, in present society portraits a double-sided sword, which could be employed as an agent of death as well as an agent of life (“All for the Good” 91). There are some concerns that genetic engineering could pose some serious danger o earth inhabitants. Nobody knows what ecological hazards could be caused by novel transgenic organisms (“DNA Disasters? ” 80). The opposition of genetic engineering says that – the science is very young and needs a lot more research.

The majority of recombinant DNA experiments use E. oli bacteria as a host for production of transgenic proteins. E. coli could be harmful to human beings and other species. Although the experiments are conducted in secure, contained facilities, there is a chance that some of bacteria could escape the boundaries of such laboratory. Escaped bacteria then could find an environment or replication and could spread at a fast pace. Some species could be infected and transmit the bacteria to others, thus causing global epidemics (Jackson and Stich 99-113). Moreover, genetic engineering enables the scientists to combine genetic materials of unrelated organisms.

Such recombinant events across species have never been fond in nature. There is a chance that such hybrid organisms could escape from a laboratory. The escaped transgenic organisms could eliminate a range of species, and disrupt the natural balance. Not to mention that such organisms could abolish the human kind. However, scientists tend to think that here is a little chance of such happening (Jackson and Stich 127). Hanson says that “the primary objective of genetic engineering is to control the genetic structures of many individual life forms which inhabit this planet, including humans, for their own benefit” (21).

However, some individual scientists may have different goals. Indeed, some scientists may participate in illegal activities in order to achieve large financial rewards. There is a concern that some genetic project information could be sold to a group of terrorists or such and then used for development of biological weapons. Use of iological weapons could wipe out vast portion of specific species in a particular region or even the whole planet. There are some convincing reasons for biotechnology to be carefully regulated.

In 1976, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) established a recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC). RAC is responsible for creating guidelines governing recombinant DNA experiments. All the institutions, companies or individuals working in the field of genetics must obey those guidelines. By the end of 1981, after reviewing the record carefully, RAC drew the conclusion that some of its requirements could be loosened up ecause safety of new technology was established (Hanson 80). Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has very high standards for proof of safety and efficacy.

However, FDA has taken a constructive attitude in making the products of biotechnology quickly and safely available to the public. FDA does not require any unnecessary studies and provides the companies with technical assistance while taking the product through the approval system. Today, there are 234 new drugs awaiting approval from FDA (Hanson 82). Innovation cannot exist without a strong patent system. If there were no patent system, the invention of one ompany could become available to other companies that did not incur high research and development cost.

Without the potential for protecting company’s developments, there would be a little chance to raise enough capital for growth and support of the company during the period while the products go through regulatory approval process. The patent system also contributes to a development of stronger economy by producing more competition. Under patent protection a new company can compete against larger, older and more entrenched companies. This, in turn, eliminates the possibility of monopoly and results in faster evelopment and lower prices of the products (Encarta 99).

On one hand, there are some concerns regarding safety of biotechnological experiments. However, over the years biotechnology has proved to be exceptionally safe. On the other hand, there is a strong need for more efficient agriculture and higher achievements in medical field. Biotechnology has also proved to be extremely productive, and innovative coming up with the answers for the problems mentioned above. In conclusion, if the 20th century was the century of physics, the 21st century should be the century of biology.

The issue of bio-ethics

The issue of bio-ethics presents a myriad of new dilemmas; all of which have arisen in the recent past, and must be addressed in the near future. The majority of these questions stem from the introduction of new, genetically-engineered organisms. These organisms, or at least many of them, are created in laboratories, by gene splicing, swapping, etc. and essentially, these scientists are playing god, creating biological entities as they want them.

This is the main source of the controversy. In more developed countries where genetically engineered disputes may ensue, the trend is total protection through patents and other regulatory and monitoring agencies. These problems come about from identification of the new bio-engineered organisms, and this approach allows the industries and entrepreneurs to recover the enormous costs involved in the research and development of genetic engineering.

It promotes the development of products to benefit society, and it allows access for a larger genetic bank for analyses, experimentation, and investigation. There is a second side to this coin-it means that the researchers can assert an excessive price to their product’ while eliminating any competition for a given period of time. It allows for copies of living things to be made easily and inexpensively.

This happens outside the United States, where strict regulations are not in continuity with those pirating compact discs in Japan, bottling Coca Cola in India, etc. No countries spend any monetary amount comparable to the over 300 million dollars to run the patent and trademark office, as the U. S. does. Another observation can be made that because of the time involved and the cost that the free flow of information is inhibited between researchers. These arguments all take place under the umbrella that “Life forces can be controlled by ownership.

Many countries take the view that these genetic products are not intellectual property, and as such, not subject to the conventional patent laws. These properties should not be protected and belong to society as much as any organism which has naturally evolved through normal processes. GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariff) has attempted to address this issue through a larger commercial / trade package; however, this is a position in which very little agreement among parties is found.

In this case, the outcome will most likely be the elimination of the issue in favor of reaching a trade agreement which has acceptability throughout the economic community. No matter which aspect of the bio-ethical issue is being analyzed, the controversy continues throughout the field. The numbers of these problems mounts exponentially as science evolves; however, it is not soon that we will see the resolution of but a very small percentage of these problems regardless of the constantly augmenting quantities of them.