Genetic Engineering

By: Nemo Mohan and Swapnika Alahari

Pros of Genetic Engineering:

Genetic engineering can be useful in many ways...

Health benefits:

  • They are more resistant to pests and will eliminate the use of pesticides, thus reducing exposure to chemicals

  • Undesirable characteristics can be removed and help many people with allergies to certain things

  • The modification can results in more beneficial produced goods

Other benefits:

  • Higher crop yield amount

  • Food can have better flavor and a longer lasting lifetime

  • Can be used for cheaper forms of medicine, helping the impoverished community

  • Genetic engineering can be used to treat many-life threatening illnesses (faulty genes are replaced with perfectly working copies)

  • People eat genetically modified food almost daily, and without genetic engineering, they would have to give up most of their favorite foods for the same food with less flavor (I.E. normal bananas have black seeds and are not as sweet, but they are genetically modified to taste sweeter and not have seeds)

  • Genetic engineering use on the human body is very limited and right now is mostly used on animals such as mice, or a little larger and vegetation

Cons of Genetic Engineering:

  • Health risks:

    • Genetic engineering can make foods that were once safe to eat a threat to people with allergies

    • Because this process is unpredictable, new substances can develop in engineered foods

  • Ethical issues:

    • Many religions believe that genetic engineering is a tantamount to playing God, and make it illegal to use genetic engineering for any purposes

    • Whilst we should be fighting against diseases, we do need at least a few illnesses, otherwise we would soon become overpopulated

  • May lead to genetic defects:

    • If scientists genetically engineer babies still in the womb, there is a very real and present danger that this could lead to complications, including miscarriage (early on), premature birth or even stillbirth, all of which are unthinkable

  • Limits genetic diversity:

    • By genetically engineering species, however, we will be having a dangerous effect on our genetic diversity in the same way as something like cloning would.

  • Using genetic engineering to create “designer babies”:

    • People may use genetic engineering to create their preferred eye color, hair type, hair color, etc.

  • Would create a new class of humanity:

    • There would be a clear social division between humans who were genetically engineered and those who were not. This may, in turn, give one group societal advantages over the other

  • Fixing mutations may just cause more mutations:

    • Evolution occurs naturally every day, so humanity trying to tinker with that process may just enhance it even more. This might mean new mutations may occur when the current ones are being fixed

  • Unintended consequences:

    • We do not know what the long-term consequences of human genetic engineering could bring since scientists don’t know what all of the body parts functions are. Attempts to save the human race might very well end up destroying it

  • Test Failure Leads to Termination of Embryos:

    • Since genetic engineering is not perfected, there will be failures along the way. This leads to termination of embryos with “undesirable” genes To some people, this is similar to abortion

  • Very Expensive:

    • Engineering the genes of animals is already intricate and expensive enough. It takes a team of skilled geneticists and researchers and a top notch facility to perform the experiment.

Statistics on Genetic Engineering:

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