Genetic Engineering - Genetics and the Future of Medicine Essay
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Genetics and the Future of Medicine
Around the world and all through time that man-kind has walked the earth, medicines have been used to cure a variety of diseases and disorders. The field of medicine has made astonishing advancements from the times of Voo Doo and “medicines” simply being successful due to the placebo effect, to the current studies of medicine that physically cure. Today’s pharmaceutical industry is said to be “one size fits all”, in the belief that one kind of medication for a certain problem, is the right medicine for everyone. This idea could be part of the distant past. Using genetics, a certain kind of medicine could be prescribed so that there are no gene inducing side effects, and to receive the best…show more content…
Genetics is helping to answer questions about why some drugs work better on certain people, and why others suffer tragic side effects. The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study in 1998 estimating that 2.2 million people had negative effects from prescription drugs, and of the 2.2 million, roughly 106,000 died. According to Dale Pfost, the president and CEO of the Princeton Orchid Biosciences, the pharmaceutical industry withholds a major secret. Pfost claims that the industry spends more money on curing people who have bad reactions to drugs, as opposed to developing drugs that will not have the side effects. Within the next five years, tests that find what kind of individuals will have a harmful reaction will be used to develop new drugs. Eventually, as technology expands, scientists will have enough knowledge about genes to be able to cure genetic disorders. The idea of solving this puzzle sounds pleasant, however, with every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, meaning that along with the perks of fixing genetic diseases, problems will follow behind. This is discussed thoroughly in the article titled “Shaping Priorities in Genetic Medicine,” written by Philip Boyle. Though there are many advantages to the use of genetics in medicine, some people have the belief that the cure is worse than the disease. Stemming off from the positive side of genetic curing are ideas and possibilities that would harm people rather
The Dangers Of Genetic Engineering Essay
Genetically manipulating genes to create certain traits in a human embryo is impossible at this point. Perhaps it will never happen. It is not inevitable in the long run, as some scientists pragmatically point out. (Embgen). It is, however, something that dominates modern day discussion concerning genetics and therefore must be addressed with care and consideration.
There are many ways that gene manipulation could come about. Advances in spermatogenesis as well as the field of assisted reproductive technology, as seen in In Vitro Fertilization clinics, point toward methods that could house the systematic alteration of genetic information in reproductive cells. Transplantation of sperm stem cells, embryo biopsy, and genetic testing of sperm and eggs are also pathways to future developments. A process that is under observation is called blastomere separations, where an 8-16 celled embryo is split into four or eight sections of two cells each (Notre Dame). The largest problem in the attempt to alter genes is finding a vector to insert the gene into the chromatin (Discover, 63). Some procedures that are successfully occurring today are selective embryo development in IVF clinics, and cytoplasmic transfer, which involves taking cytoplasm from young eggs and placing it into an older egg. This can be seen as a crude sort of germ line gene transfer, due to the few short-lived genes that can be found in cytoplasm (Discover). These are all processes which are intended to produce healthy, normal children.
Before discussing anything else, a clear definition of "health" must be specified. Health is absence of diseases; but more than that, it is the state in which a person flourishes, in which bodies and minds are working not at adequate, but optimal levels (Perfect Baby). Due to lack of good exercise habits, confidence and stamina, a person could still be considered unhealthy even if that person is free of diseases. Many people trust that DNA can be connected to the happiness and misery of the human population, and with a new gene we could define the meaning of human existence (Pragmatism).
Even without the meaning of life, parents still try to help their children have the best possible life, free of diseases and pain. This hope for a good life gives rise to the use of genetics as an eliminator of diseases that are a result of imperfect DNA. After this pragmatic use, however, is the expectation that genetic engineering will bring about a systematized choice about better or exceptional babies. With the ability to alter a gene pattern comes the prospect that children face today - that of following in their parent's footsteps. A child of an athlete finds himself prefigured as "child athlete". This model would be more strictly enforced if children could be artificially predisposed to a certain trait (Pragmatism).
Eliminating and enhancing traits, however,...
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