SHOULD WE GENETICALLY ENGINEER OURSELVES?
Should we use new genetic information to alter our own DNA to make ourselves more adept? Last winter, scientist made a major break through in genetic engineering. They finished a complete map of DNA of a complex organism. Although the animal that they broke down is a simple flat worm, over 40% of its DNA sequence match our own. This is an astounding leap forward for genetic engineers. Genetic engineering is the use of lasers and/or chemicals to alter the sequences of nucleotides, which are the bases of DNA. Many people throughout the world greatly oppose genetic engineering. Calling it “unethical”, “anti-Christianity” and “dangerous”. I feel genetics can help us so much, all these controversies are nothing when amounted to the utopian health of the entire human race that could be achieved.
Many of the Islamic countries have laws prohibiting such research in genetics. The Islamic holy book, The Koran, forbids any man from changing himself. Allah, the Islamic god, made the Muslim people in his own likeness and cast away all people who change his work. Likewise, in Christianity, God made Adam and Eve in his likeness. He also makes it that any man that changes the body that the Father has blessed him with shall be exiled away to Hell. I counter this argument with the question, If God and Allah loved their people so much, then why did they let their people become sick and have pain? I believe as a Christian, God would not have given us the knowledge to use genetics if he did not want us to change ourselves. The exact same theory applies to all religions. We are only better suiting ourselves to please our God.
Ethics are always a major factor in wars, medicine and politics. Ethics play the part in genetics by posing the question “why?” Ethical oppressors believe that the human race should be left as is. They fear a “super-human race” taking over the world and a new type of racism and discrimination would result between the new human race and the old human race. I believe such a theory is very foolish. Genetics can not be used to make one more intelligent or faster reacting. The genetics that scientist are researching the genes that cause genetic diseases, such as Down Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, hemophilia and color blindness. They are manipulating DNA to take away diseases that slow down progression and cause families to be hurt. Imagine a world without sickle-cell anemia, or Diabetes. A world where cancer is very little known of and when found can easily be treated by genetic therapy. Little disease would be tolerated in our bodies. Virus would be destroyed by genetically engineered white blood cells; AIDS would be cut down in a few years. Life expectancy would be almost 90 years old. Even the common cold would be gone, even with the viruses’ constant mutations.
One last fear of DNA manipulation is the fear of what if a bacteria or virus found a weakness? What if an epidemic started and spread fiercely that our great new genetically enhanced white blood cells could not handle? All of the human race would be susceptible to? True, it has happened in the past with corn that was genetically engineered. But such an epidemic is very highly unlikely. It did happen in corn, but that corn was merely an experiment. If we would do this to ourselves, it wouldn’t be an experiment; it would be a medical treatment. Where all possible outside attacks would be known and could be stopped quickly. There is no fear that an epidemic would break out and it is unrealistic that the entire human race could be wiped out to the point of extinction in a matter of a few weeks.
I feel genetic engineering can give us so much. There are some good reasons why we should not continue such research, but I think that the positive effects of making ourselves more perfect are dominant over little ethical issues. With DNA manipulation, we can lead better, healthier, and longer lives. A utopian life of health awaits us ahead and such criticism can only delay and hurt ourselves.