Seizing the Power?

The major question behind genetics is just because we can, does it mean we should? It is a lot like the quote from spider-man, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Despite the two opposites on this opinion, of giving up all research in the field of genetics, and doing every possible thing that we as the human race can do to advance and help evolution on, I find myself switching my opinion between the specific topics under genetics.

I never want my human genome to be sequenced and I have no idea why anyone would want to know there genome. At this point in time there is nothing that we can do with the genome we cannot use it to heal diseases or alter effectively the genome in any way. It is quite simply private information that may one day turn up to harm the human race and its morality. This genome could be sequenced and our genes could be determined for stuff such as heart failure, cancer, and other numerous diseases and disabilities. What if insurance companies gained access to this information they could decline people because of their expectancy to gain certain diseases. That is unfair the genome is someone’s private information and it needs to remain that way.

When talking about sequencing the human genome the topic of customized genetic medicine comes up. This is a guess at what the future holds for us in genetics it is not anywhere near being possible yet. We have no idea of the potentials that this customized genetic altering could do. It is said we could someday cure diseases at birth or pick certain features for our kids that are more desirable than others. This sounds a lot like attempting to create a “perfect race,” that is exactly what the Nazis attempted to do. By selecting how we want our kids to be born we are discriminating against stuff that we see as undesirable this is intolerance. Also, just like bacteria that have become rendered ineffective against anti-biotics, well what if this potential situation came about through genetic engineering. What if while scientists were curing these diseases they just ended up making genetic diseases that could not be cured for endless amounts of generations. This potential threat could do more than just effect our generation it could cause every generation here on out to die off or become sterile. Even if the genetics to prevent diseases is one day successful what if someone makes a mistake and we come out with a genetic alteration. This could potentially change an entire generation and every single generation after.

The thing that I find most dangerous about customized genetic medicine and genetic engineering on people, besides that we could cause a mutation that ends our species, is that this would narrow the human races’ genetic diversity. It is survival of the fittest and as scientists have seen throughout history species with little to no genetic diversity become extinct. When a species has a narrow genetic diversity they cannot adapt to a change in their environment and they die off. Genetic alteration will do just that it is, if it ever happens successfully, going to limit the genetic diversity of humans. There after any change in the environment that is sudden of drastic could bring about the end of the human race.

Along with this genetic engineering, if in the future it can become possible to genetically alter our children in ways that we see fit, is this ethically ok. It is the question of having a “perfect race” again, who is to determine which qualities are better than another. As a person with good hearing I would consider being deaf obsolete, but a deaf person would think the worst of me they would argue that being deaf is its own important culture and being deaf is every bit as good as having full hearing capabilities. No one can determine what is the most desirable and what defects to get rid of because some of these considered defects or diseases are not even considered defects or diseases at all by the people who posses them and they would be ashamed to hear someone say that they are obsolete because of these characteristics.

When it comes to gene cloning in plants I feel that I am ok with this concept. After all this is just genetically modified food and crops, which I consume and support on a day to day basis every time I buy food. I personally feel that this food may not be healthiest to our bodies, but I do not feel that it harms us in any way, and it so far has not been proven to cause us harm. I use to feel that our food that was genetically modified should be labeled; however, I now know that pretty much every single thing that we consume as Americans is genetically modified or has genetically modified ingredients in it.

I feel that through genetic engineering in food we will possibly be able to cure hunger in third world countries. If we could get them seed that would actually produce good reliable amounts without pests killing it off then they could change hunger problems in their countries. It would be a great way of lending them an arm to get off the ground and start to solve the many problems that they have on their own. The only problem I can see in the future with these genetically modified crops is the problem of immune pests. What if the pests evolve and all of the sudden it is generation after generation of pests with a tolerance. So now we have already genetically modified the food and all of the sudden the pests are no longer dying so they eat away all of the crops. Besides just eating and ruining that crop, from there on out we have nothing to kill them they are immune until we can invent something new. If we event something new they may eventually develop a tolerance to that. I can imagine that something new would be stronger and more harmful to the environment and things around it too. So in time we would be developing a solution that would get worse and worse and affect us and the environment around us drastically.

At first thought I believed that corporations should be able to patent a gene; however, on reexamining this I determined that it would be unsafe. If a company owns the gene for killing a certain pest in crops then everyone has to buy seed from them and they have monopolized one of the biggest industries in the world, agriculture. You cannot tell a company that they have to share their gene either though because that is against capitalism, so it would be going against what this country was founded upon. So the only fair reasoning I could see on this topic was if the developing company would receive a patent for a short amount of time, such as a year, then the gene that they genetically grafted would have to become publicly available for other companies to produce or use.

On the topic of reproductive cloning I am completely uncertain this does not seem to compromise my morals or ethics in any way. It is not destroying life and it is not directly creating it. I would say that I support reproductive cloning however it just seems like a step to far into the unknown. No one can really say what this will bring about. The part that I am most concerned about is that if it eventually moves from just being tested on animals, to common for human practice. I would be worried about a society like the one portrayed in “The Island,” a society where we harvest clones of ourselves for use of their organs. This is nothing more than the murder of a life so that we ourselves can continue to live on. It is greedy and selfish, and in simplest terms just wrong on every level. It is saying that someone else’s life (even though it’s a clone of you) is less important than your own. No one can rightfully say that their life is more valuable than someone else’s, and if they can then they are a person with no morals.

Therapeutic cloning or stem cell research I am fully in the opposition to. A human life begins at the point of conception. If someone is to abort a child (a fertilized egg) then they are committing first degree murder. I cannot make my opinion any more clear than this; stem cell research is murder and should be illegal. They are taking one life and considering it insignificant compared to another. They are killing someone in order to work towards a potential cure to numerous diseases. It is in no way even guaranteed that stem cell research will yield a productive applicable outcome. It is scientists’ theory which they wish to test through the murder of who knows how many thousands of people. Even if it could cure what they say it can at this point then it is not acceptable. The cells in the Petri dish are a human life and no one except God is to determine that that life is less valuable than another. Scientists are here to help improve and advance human life through making us healthier and giving us comforting technologies. Being a scientist is not for people who intend to murder people in order to test an idea that has been thrown out among the community. They can take stem cells from adults in their nasal cavities, I am totally fine with them taking these and testing them, I will even donate mine. But, embryonic stem cell research will bring about the murder of numerous people. Personally I feel that if a test tube baby is going to be discarded then it should be used for scientific advancement. However I cannot even allow that because people will blow it out of proportion and it will carry on in larger amounts and all of the sudden these embryonic stem cells will be being produced in labs and that is unacceptable. And if a cure is discovered through killing these test tube babies then more will be made so that their stem cells can be harvested. Therefore no matter what the situation is stem cell research is unacceptable.

Genetics is a touchy field of science it tends to step on the toes of thousands of people around the world and in our country. It brings up their morals and ethics which all tie into their religious values. Anything where religion is involved and challenged it is going to be a very sensitive subject. But, on every topic I have stuck to my beliefs the ones of the church because whether people want to admit it or not religion is where everyone’s morals and values came from at one point back in their ancestral line, and those religious morals and values have been passed down to them through generations otherwise they would have no morals.