Essay on Genetic Engineering

Submitted By beliken
Words: 1104
Pages: 5

Genetic Engineering
Luke Tourtellotte


Genetic Engineering is something only the most intelligent men and
women in the world work on. Genetic Engineering is taking who and
what you are and changing it. It is almost the most dangerous thing to
a human, if done wrong your life can never be the same.

Cloning

There are two main applications of cloning. One is "embryo
cloning," which could be used to create new human parts. For
example, some scientists are working on methods to produce a new
embryo from an existing person's cells and then use the cells
from that embryo to produce replacements for failing body parts
in the original person. An embryo develops about a week after
conception, and in its early stages consists of a few identical
cells.

"Reproductive cloning" would produce complete cloned individuals,
like Dolly the sheep. Genetic engineers are now able to clone
mice and cattle as well as sheep. Human cloning would
produce a new person who is a near genetic copy of another
person. He or she would, however, be different from the original
person because he or she would develop in a different environment
and have different experiences.

Many people think both "reproductive cloning" and "embryo
cloning" are repugnant and unethical. Other people think embryo
cloning could be acceptable in some cases to treat disease but
think reproductive cloning is wholly unnecessary and never
justifiable.

In the U.S., federal funds cannot be used for reproductive
cloning experiments and some states have outlawed it, but there
is no federal law against it.[5, pg. 4] A team of researchers
recently announced they are going to attempt human cloning in an
"unidentified Mediterranean country."[1] These researchers have
been widely condemned, but some of their colleagues are primarily
concerned that this early attempt at cloning could give the
technology a bad name and reduce the public's willingness to
allow further cloning research.

Somatic cell manipulation

Somatic cell manipulation adds genes to existing cells in some
part of the human body, such as the lungs or the blood. Somatic
cell manipulation is only supposed to affect the DNA of the
person undergoing the treatment. In theory, it does not produce
changes that could be passed on to that person's children and
grandchildren.

Somatic cell manipulation was first attempted on humans in
1990. The mechanisms of somatic cell manipulation are
poorly understood, and the effects can be lethal. In one case, a
teenager died after researchers at the University of Pennsylvania
tried to introduce genes into his liver cells, using a modified
virus to carry the genes to their destination. The idea was that
the virus would "infect" the target cells and insert the desired
genes, without being dangerous itself. The researchers are still
not certain how they killed their patient, but evidence suggests
the virus invaded many organs besides the liver and triggered a
severe immune reaction.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), somatic
cell manipulation also poses the threat of insertional
mutagenesis, in which inserting new DNA changes or disrupts the
functioning of existing DNA. FDA also says
researchers attempting to alter somatic cells could inadvertently
introduce foreign genes into the patient's sperm or egg cells.
If this happened, researchers could accidentally change
the genetic information passed from parent to child.

Researchers are required to submit data to FDA and the
National Institutes of Health (NIH) on any adverse effects that
occur during somatic cell manipulation trials. After the
teenager's death at the University of…