Genetic: Eugenics Movement Essay

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Eugenics Eugenics gained popularity throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as some scientists incorrectly believed that many human behaviors, like alcoholism or social dependency, were solely the product of genes, independent of environmental influences.(1/4 Hix, Laura, (2009). Modern Eugenics.

2/7 Lewis, Ricki “concepts and applications” 10th edition

5 Pickens, L. Donald, (1968). Eugenics

6 O’keefe, John, (1995). Eugenics.

8, 1995.


10 Lombardo, Paul, Eugenics Laws Against Race Mixing. University of Virginia

11/14 In Human life Review, Summer 2009. Copyright, 2009 by Mary Meehan.

Recent advances in genetics and reproductive technology have opened the door to a new form of eugenics that is focused on repairing faulty genes associated with disease or other health conditions. Removing or modifying genes to prevent or treat genetic diseases is involved with negative genetic engineering. Eugenics is what they call the control of individual reproduction to gain a societal goal. Modern genetics is sometimes compared to eugenics because genetic technologies may affect reproductive choices and can influence which alleles are passes to the next generation. However, they differ in their goals. Eugenics aims to allow only people with certain “valuable genotypes to reproduce, for the supposed benefit of the population as a whole”.2 Fetus and pregnancy Frederick Osborn and co-workers encouraged the influence of Eugenics. In 1950-1960’s the supported development of prenatal testing and eugenic abortions. There are articles that show organized eugenics let to lethal combination op testing abortions in 1950-1960’s. Later articles describe government involvement and gives information about testing abortion combination and how it has made pregnancy a horrible experience for women and couples. In 1972, James Crow said, “How far should we defend the right of a parent to produce a child that is painfully diseased, condemned to an early death, or mentally retarded?”3

Currently, negative genetic engineering is used to detect genetic disease, during or prior to pregnancy. There are options such as amniocentesis and or preimplantation genetic diagnosis to detect abnormalities in the fetuses during pregnancies. Parents much make difficult decisions, if the fetus is found to have a life altering genetic disorder during a prenatal diagnosis. For example, gene therapy techniques could theoretically be performed on a newly- fertilized embryo’s DNA during IVF, prior to implantation. Corrections to DNA at this stage of development would not only affect all non-reproductive cells in the developing fetus, but also the gametes. Termed “inheritable genetic modification” IGM, this would allow transmission of the corrected genes to all future progeny.4 Genetic modification has a good promise to treat, and perhaps someday even permanently cure genetic disease.

Negative and positive eugenics
Negative eugenics, or ending the over production of the “unfit,” is obliviously well underway with the widespread contraception, sterilization and abortion. 5 But positive eugenic, or the increased production of the “fit,” can be advanced through artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and genetic engineering. The Human Genome Project would certainly help in a scheme of positive eugenics.6 In 1965, Frederick Osborn stated, that “The term medical genetics has taken the place of the old term negative eugenics.” By controlling reproduction, Eugenics can be used for improving the human race. With the advent of medical research such as the Human Genome Project, society is still trying to resolve the ethical issues raised by eugenic theories. Society is still trying to resolve the ethical issues raised by eugenic theories such as Human Genome Project research. Margaret Sanger encouraged support for eugenics