It is my belief that genetic engineering has promise to better mankind, and it is our ethical obligation to research it but not exploit it. There is a need to have a morally correct legislation that guides the way science develops this.
The Random House Websters College Dictionary defines bioethics as a field of study and counsel concerned with the implications of certain medical procedures, genetic engineering, and care of the terminally ill. I will be exploring and commenting on how bioethics relates to genetic engineering. Genetic engineering is a branch of biology dealing with the splicing and recombining of genetic units from living organisms, according to Websters New World Dictionary.
I will look at bioethics from the point of view of personal privacy, societal effects, religious concerns, medicinal benefits and legislation.
The topic of genetic engineering stirs up debates, as it is a controversial area with enormous potential for both good and bad in our society. Genetically prepared drugs have already helped tremendously, in the treament various diseases. Biogenetically prepared vaccines and insulin have already proven their benefit medicine. Other genetically engineered drugs are waiting Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approval. However, critics claim that it will cause more harm than good.
Many theologians believe that genetic engineering, should not be investigated at all, they feel Mother Nature knows best and any tampering with genetic material is evil. The primary reason why theologians argue that genetic engineering is unethical is because it defies all that has been described in the story of creation in the bible and other religious texts. However, it is my belief that genetic engineering has promise to better mankind, and it is our ethical obligation to research it but not exploit it. There is a need to have a morally correct legislation that guides the way science develops this (Toward E01.)
It has been only four decades since James D. Watson and Francis H.
Crick made one of the most profound discoveries ever, the double helix structure of DNA. Today we know, human DNA is made of up twenty-three pairs of chromosomes and is found in all cells of the human body. Human genes are short segments of DNA that determine human traits, ranging from sex to eye color (Toward 1995.) To a large extent, DNA predetermines what diseases we will get, what our IQ will be and how we will function etc. According to Time magazines DNA is a complex structure that has 100,000 genes and 3 billion chemical codes (Isaacson 42) which encrypt the very basis of our biological unit. DNA is the true thumb imprint which makes each individual unique, and the entire controversy surrounding genetic engineering revolves around the idea of destroying the human by changing this code.
Genetic engineering today has already helped many infertile patients to have children by a technique called in-vitro fertilization (Toward E01.)
In October 1993, the Doctor Jerry L. Hall, a geneticist, at George Washington to University Medical Center cloned a human embryo. This set off an ethical debate. Ethicists asked why the cloning was done, and who will set the guidelines for this practice in the future. There are those who believe that this issue is about individual autonomy.
They believe that this is not societys business and no one should be allowed to interfere with a persons personal privacy and that nothing can be more personal then genetic material that makes us who we are (Kolata A1.)
According to Richard A. McCormick, S.J., who teaches theology at the University of Notre Dame, ones approach to cloning will vary according to the range of issues one wants to consider. For example, he says some people look at it from the point of view of helping infertile couples to have offspring and they say that this is not wrong because geneticists are only helping where mother nature failed.
McCormick believes that people with this point of view are being frighteningly myopic. He sees this issue as extremely social matter, not a question of mere personal privacy. I see three dimensions to the moral question: the wholeness of life, the individuality of life, and respect for life (McCormick 1148.)
The danger of genetic engineering lies in the fact that the individuality .