As the years go by, we find ourselves becoming closer and closer to entering a futuristic world filled with technological advances aimed at making life easier and more outstanding that it has been in the past. Medical, agricultural, social, and beneficial scientific research has pushed us into a new era where designer babies and fifteen cloned cows can not only survive in today’s world but thrive as well. However, at what point do we take a step back and think to ourselves whether the research we invest taxpayer dollars in is worth the effort? At what point do we realize that human beings are playing God’s role and creating new organisms that were never meant to be? Genetic Engineering, Cloning, and Stem Cell Research are inevitably the future of this American society. The closer science becomes to making breakthroughs in these fields of research, the warier we must be about relinquishing the test subjects into everyday society.

Many see Genetic Engineering, or genomics, as the next evolutionary step in which life is purposefully “directed” rather than more fairly “random”. The research behind this field will not only cure disease but could completely eradicate certain suffering from our world and save those that have been left to die, abandoned by chance and fate. Within each and every strand of our DNA is embedded a yearning to help those less fortunate and alleviate suffering from those innocent lives that are in constant pain. So why not, as Professor Lee Silver stated, “seize the power… on what basis can we reject genetic influences on a person’s essence”? We have the power to save lives and finally eradicate such horrors as Down’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and congenital hear defects. All it takes is one small change in one’s DNA and those maladies that were once passed from generation to generation would be but a faint memory.

Too many people fear the dreaded slippery slope that genomics could fall into and are therefore halting all medical breakthroughs from occurring. There are issues of legal privacy as examined in the ambiguity of the Human Genome Project, issues of equality as foreseen in the dystopian world of Gattica, and the question of whether or not “designer babies” are a possibility for those willing to pay the price. With all the doubts and legal battles surrounding genetic engineering it is no wonder that scientists are forced to research behind closed doors in private labs. What many do not understand is that when genomics becomes a more mainstream field of science and accepted by most American citizens, strict laws will undoubtedly be placed on everything that results from the lab research. Laws and mandates will keep America from having free reign and toying with the fate of innocent lives.

The only sector of genetic engineering that cannot become mainstream is the ability to create “designer babies” by those willing to pay. A mother should love her child regardless of its flaws, for we all have many flaws, and no person should be given to the right to create the best child possible at the genetic level. Were this research to reach the American public, it could undoubtedly open the doors for a world like Gattica, in which class discrimination has reached the genetic level. In this sense, humans would be playing God. Some things are meant to be left to fate and chance for this is what makes life interesting and worth living.

Another sector of genetic engineering, not previously mentioned, that bleeds ambiguity and unnatural manipulation is the research and utilization of genetically modified organisms. For years now people have been unknowingly putting food into their bodies that were genetically enhanced and injected with hundreds of chemicals to make it look and taste better than ever. America, as a hungry nation, has lost the will and desire to eat organic foods grown within the earth and has substituted these pricier yet healthier meals for quick and easy calorie infused foods. Through activism and legal battles, some food manufacturers, such and General Mills, have been forced to either alert the nation that their foods contain GMO’s or remove all genetically modified foods from their products and replace them with healthier more natural products. This quick and easy method of eating might allow those with lower incomes to eat, however at what cost? Americans are some of the most unhealthy and obese people of this world and that is in part due to the ease GMO’s have brought to our meals.

Many argue that GMO’s would end world hunger and save people in third world countries from dying of starvation and other malnutrition related diseases. While this may be true, it would also create a new business of American corporations owning entire countries by providing them with the food necessary to feed their citizens. There is not one person out there that wants people in these countries to die of starvation however introducing GMO’s into these nations would create a dependency unlike anything seen before. Instead of genetically modifying foods and selling them to these countries, we should be looking for alternate ways to help them grow their own crops, the natural way.

As for Cloning, all that can be said is that it is superfluous in nature and the best example of “playing God” and manipulating fate. As I see it, there is no reason why neither animals nor humans should be cloned in a lab. In order to create a cloned animal, a natural mammalian birth must take place. The nucleus and genetic DNA are exchanged, the fertilized egg is then placed in the female for gestation, and then the animal is born. It is the same process that a unique fertilized egg goes through in order to be become of living specimen. Cloning is a fantasy that many people would like to see happen but really has no beneficial attributes. The research behind cloning screams, “doing something for the sake of getting something done”. Cloning is going much too far with the technological power we have obtained over the years.

Finally, Stem Cell Research is probably the most beneficial way scientists can spend their time and energy. It is clear that adult stem cells can create hundreds of ways to save the lives of people suffering from certain disease. The ambiguity lies in the benefits of embryonic stem cells due to the restrictions put on this sort of research. Instead of hundreds of ways to save lives, with further research of the stem cells retrieved from discarded embryos, scientists could find hundreds of thousands of ways to cure spinal cord injuries and other incurable and debilitating maladies. Many activists against stem cell research argue the fact that these fertilized eggs are human beings and should not be used to research purposes. However, the fact of the matter is that millions of fertilized eggs are being discarded every year from In-Vetro Fertilization and other such matters. These eggs could be used to save people already living and suffering. Why force someone with a spinal cord injury to suffer for the rest of their natural life while fertilized eggs are being discarded like pieces of garbage. It is absurd to say that someone must live a life of pain because these eggs could possible be potential viable members of society.

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