by Jasmin and Lena
Genetic engineering- huge invention or big nightmare?
Genetic engineering could be seen by parents as a big present they got, but otherwise it could be abused as a modification of babies. Genetic modification must not be used only for humans. It’s also possible to use it for animals and food.
What is genetic engineering? How does it work?
It means the manipulation or cultivation of organs or organisms. There are two different ways. The first works for humans as well as for plants. Stem cells get extracted (humans stem cells are in the spinal cord) and are grown as an organ or organisms. Another way to create a designer baby or to mend disabilities is to manipulate an artificially fertilised egg cell.
What are the different research areas?
Genetic engineering is used for more efficient food production including manipulated plants not to mention animals. The medicine is also able to use it for humans. Here you can create a designer baby or deal with disorders.
Why do scientific and business communities do the research of genetic engineering?
Scientific communities try to help eliminating hundreds of diseases, pain and anxiety. With doing this they want to bring human happiness and productivity. Scientists see much potential in this topic. Waiting thousands of years for beneficial mutations is needless, if you can start by your own. It is worthwhile as soon as you can minimise human suffering, because every human has the right to be born free of preventable diseases. Scientific business thinks that everybody could make choices for themselves. It’s true that polygenic interventions are more difficult than single gene interventions, but it became much safer than people think. Being powerless to change something is not the goal of these businesses. Improved human conditions are the main point. With genetic engineering a fair world could be created where everybody has the same level.
Is genetic engineering a good invention?
First of all there are positive and negative arguments for and against genetic engineering. Even if genetic engineering was highly researched a lot of people are afraid of allergic reactions. We are never absolutely sure that there will be no unintended selection or transfer of genes. So abuse is still a big topic. Scientists often work with antibiotics which gives antibiotic resistance as a result. By cloning plants like corn a lot of biodiversity could be lost and there could develop invasive plants which are stronger or more resistant as not manipulated plants. This could lead to economic problems and the research also needs electricity and materials which strengths the climate change. Even if the research is only reduced at plants there is an ethical discussion.
On the other hand we suffer under overpopulation and hunger which could be minimised by more efficient food production. Nutrient-rich food would be healthier and the plants would have a bigger chance to survive because of a higher resistance against rotting and animals. The doping of genes could also be used for animals. The meat production could be made more efficient. Healthy food makes healthy humans. So our animals have to be healthy which is more possible by using genetic engineering. The growth of animals and plants could also be made faster which would increase the efficiency and the profit.
Should Designer Babies be legalised?
The research for designer Babies is highly developed. Therefor it’s possible to find out if an embryo is ill or not. Moreover medicine is not able to heal babies with disorders by using artificially fertilised egg cells and their manipulation. This would be great to minimise disorders for babies and guarantee them a bright future. But what is really designable and where are the borders? By genetic engineering it would be possible to decide which skin-colour, hair-colour, height, intelligence or which sex the baby should have. Indeed that goes much too far because otherwise there would be super-humans. Definitely it would be good to minimise the risk of diabetes and cancer and there would also be a higher life expectation for them. But the results of our survey that people are mostly against genetic engineering because of an ethical dilemma. They wish for all the parents out there that their babies are healthy and would allow genetic engineering for minimising disorders or to cure them. In contrast to this wish they are mostly against designer babies for a good reason. The technology is not high enough developed which means higher risks while pregnancy for mother and child. Furthermore by creating super babies other humans would be second class and unequal. Because of high costs the research would only be affordable for really rich people which would divide the society even more. Anyway if this technology would be used for more generations the gene pole would be less diverse which could lead to disorders in the following generations and children’s growing and development could be harmed. In a nutshell the research of genetic engineering should go on. Nevertheless creating designer babies would be unethical and should be really forbidden. It only should be used for helping minimising disorders.
Utopia or Dystopia?
Genetic Engineering is split into different kinds which partly fits to a utopian world like the manipulation of plants. Here the efficiency could be increased and fewer people would have to go hungry to bed. But on the other hand genetic engineering participated on humans can also be utopian. While only perfect humans seem to be utopian the consequences could be humans second class who are not as perfect as all the others. So perfection can also lead to imperfection. Moreover the abuse of the manipulation of genes could lead to unhappy people with diseases or disabilities. But everyone has to decide for themselves if they would want to live in such a different world or not.