Genetic engineering is a new technology that allows sets of cells in an organism to be modified and altered in order to achieve desired traits and possibly even eradicate disease and illnesses. The practice itself is controversial, and has many people wondering what the consequences will be in the long term. As of now, genetic enginneering is being widely used to manipulate crops and other foods that are consumed by millions every single day. Another term that may be used to refer to this is GMO or genetically modified organism. Let’s take an in depth look at the good and bad sides of genetic engineering.
The Advantages of Genetic Engineering
1. May Provide A Cure For Disease
Genetic engineering in humans may sound horrifying, but it is the best bet that we have to eradicate a number of incurable and deadly disease. This could be done by identifying the genes that cause these disease, and engineering them out.
2. Pharmaceutical Benefits
The extensive knowledge that would be gained from working directly with human genes would lead to much better, safer, and more effective medicines and drugs.
3. Increase The Average Life Span
The possibility of 150 year lifespan is within reach. Certain traits and genes, including the genes responsible for aging, can be altered in order to extend the lifespan of organisms.
4. Better Sustaining Crops
When it comes to genetic engineering with crops, there are quite a few different benefits to look at. GMO crops have insect repellent properties, provide more nutrition, more durable crops, and even tastier food!
The Disadvantages of Genetic Engineering
1. An Unknown Path
A sufficient amount of testing and research has not yet been done on the long term effects of genetic engineering. There are high risks of gene mutations, new and more severe illnesses, and hereditary problems occurring in genetically engineered organisms.
2. Expensive Adventure
The amount of money that it takes to research, test, and perform genetic engineering is out of this world. The equipment and specialty labs alone could easily add up to millions of dollars. While it may serve some small benefits, many believe that the outcomes do not out weight the costs.
3. Playing God?
Altering something as sensitive and vital, such as genes, has caused critics to stand up and speak out. Many believe that this scientific practice is over stepping the bounds that man has.
Many people believe that if the use of genetic engineering becomes a mainstream practice, that only the wealthy would be able to benefit from it’s use. This would create an entirely new form of prejudice and class separation among the human race.
5. Large Legal Obstacles
Even though the technology may be there, the testing simply cannot be in many cases. This is because most countries and governments have put very strict limitations and restrictions on the extent that the research can go. This is especially true when the process involves testing on humans.