There are some topics that are more controversial than others and one of these topics is genetic engineering. Many people are split on this topic and both sides are very vocal and adamant about their viewpoint. Genetic engineering involves the process of changing genetic material in some way. Genetic material is important, because it is essentially the cornerstone of heredity. This means that a genetic material is then modified in some way. Technology and innovation surrounding genetic engineering is constantly evolving and advancing overtime. There are still many variables that are unknown and this often leads to more controversy swirling around this topic.
History of Genetic Engineering
Genetic engineering might be a controversial topic today, but it has only been on the scene for a short period of time. It was not until the late 1950’s that the concept of genetic engineering was even considered. Before this time, many scientists did not fully understand what genes actually were. Without a working knowledge of the function of a gene, it is impossible to understand genetic engineering. Before genes were fully understood a gene was considered to be a unit that a genetic characteristic was transmitted. Francis Crick and James Watson changed everything surrounding the knowledge of genes when they discovered the structure of the molecules that live in cells. This structure is known as DNA.
What is Genetic Engineering?
Once genes were better understood, it was possible for strides to be taken in the field of genetic engineering. This means that as more is discovered and learned, it is possible for new information involving genes to be used. Genetic engineering involves changing a genetic material in some way. It is important to note that genetic engineering can only take place if 3 elements exist. This means that a gene needs to be transferred and a host cell needs to exist. It is also essential that a vector be used for the transfer. Genetic engineering can be used in many different ways. This means that the applications of genetic engineering that are possible are virtually boundless. Genetic engineering has the ability to not only transform the health industry, but also agriculture.
List of Advantages of Genetic Engineering
1. Disease Prevention
It is possible to move medicine in a direction of disease prevention instead of just treating illnesses and disorders. Through genetic engineering, it is actually possible to prevent some diseases from occurring. This is done through the process of isolating the gene that is linked to any given disease or disorders. There are a number of autoimmune diseases that are linked to a gene. This means that isolating the gene that causes this disease can allow for the disease to be eradicated. Preventing disease is a step that medicine can take with genetic engineering at the forefront.
2. Infectious Diseases
Infectious diseases are something that we are learning more about by the day. It is possible for genetic engineering to transform the way that infectious diseases are treated and the amount of people that they impact. It is possible for genes to actually be implanted into individuals that have the antigen for many infectious diseases. This is still in the early stages, but it is an aspect of genetic engineering that could potentially be really profound.
It is also important to consider the benefit of adversity that genetic engineering could offer. Through this type of process, it is possible for the diversity of genes to be enhanced. This means that the heredity of plants can be altered in a way that can bring about great change. For example, wheat has the ability to grow into insulin through genetic engineering processes. It is amazing what this type of innovation can achieve.
List of Disadvantages of Genetic Engineering
Many people that are against genetic engineering feel that not enough research has been done. They think that there are still too many unknown variables. This means that some scientists are actually of eth belief that genetic engineering can allow for consequences that we are not prepared for. This means that changing the heredity of genes has the ability to have effects that can’t be reversed. This is something that is serious and should not be taken lightly. Many opposed to genetic engineering feel that we are not ready for the consequences of this science or process.
The reason that this topic is so controversial is that it is rooted in religion. The issue of genetic engineering is often a moral issue. This means that people are arguing over if genetic engineering is wrong or right. Many people that are opposed to genetic engineering are of the belief that genetic engineering is morally wrong. Many people are debating whether man should have the ability to change genes or if this is something that should only be let up to god. Debating an issue on the basis of morality is difficult and it is almost impossible for both sides to remain unbiased. Since there are such opposed viewpoints on the basis of morality and genetic engineering, it is likely that a compromise on the topic will never be reached. There are many that will always be against genetic engineering due to their religious beliefs.
It is important that people understand how complex the process of genetic engineering really is. The benefits of genetic engineering are possible, but this is only when this process is effective. It is such a complicated process to change genes and the results are often not ideal. This means that the complexity and little room for error that exists during the process of genetic engineering can be troublesome. The process is known to be very risky and the desired result is not often achieved, which means that the likelihood of success is not very high.
4. Susceptibility to Disease
The main function of genetic engineering is to help stop some viruses and diseases, but this might result in many of us having the same genomes. This lack of diversity within genomes is believed to have the ability of making people even more susceptible to some types of illnesses. It is even believed by some scientists that take this train of thought a step further that human extinction might occur if genetic engineering becomes the norm. There are many that are increasingly fearful about what could happen if genetic engineering results in identical genomes.
As you can see, genetic engineering is a controversial topic that has both advantages and disadvantages. It is important that you become informed and learn about what this process really is and what the pros and cons truly are. The only way that you are able to form an unbiased opinion on eth topic is to see this issue for both sides. After weighing the advantages and disadvantages against one another, it is still not easy to determine if genetic engineering is right or wrong. As more research is completed, it is possible that more will be understood on the subject of genetic engineering. More experimentation needs to be done before genetic engineering can be ruled a success or failure. No matter what way you look at it, genetic engineering hold a lot of potential.