The Ethics of Genome Alteration

AP Literature & Composition - Frankenstein Research

What Is Genome Alteration?

-Editing ones genome to to enhance the abilities of one organism beyond what is normal.


-Examples:


  • Splicing (manual cutting) of DNA
  • Nuclease Cas9 (Enzyme)


What HAS Genome Altercation Done?

-It has been used to cure, and sometimes eradicate, certain diseases such as:
  • X-linked SCID
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Parkinson's Disease


-It has also been used for early detection of cancerous tumors


Gene Therapy VS. Genetic Engineering

-Gene therapy: Altering genes to correct genetic defects and prevent or cure genetic diseases.


-Genetic engineering: Modifying the genes to enhance the capabilities of the organism beyond what is normal. Essentially, it is making “Super Humans”.



The Future of Gene Therapy

-Other diseases that could be cured include:
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Tay Sachs
  • Sickle Cell Anemia


-It is also believed that most pathogen-born diseases could be cured through genetic therapy


-Normative gene therapy (strengthening muscles in the elderly) blurs the line between therapy and engineering, a very controversial topic of discussion.


The Future of Genetic Enhancement


GOOD:

  • People suffering from height deficit may be able to reach a normal height through engineering

BAD:

  • Athlete would be able to genetically enhance their features in order to improve performance

UGLY:

  • It would be expensive and, therefore, only the wealthy could afford it. This would greatly widen the already gaping wealth gap.


Should We Alter Our Genomes?

A good portion of Americans say "No!"
  • 22 laws passed in 15 states since 1997
  • 11 federal laws against human gene alteration

-Do the pros outweigh the cons, or vice-versa?


Works Cited

Carbone, June. "Roadblocks Or Bypasses?: Religion, Science, And The Future Of Genetic

Engineering."Kansas Journal Of Law & Public Policy 18.2 (2009): 188-207. OmniFile

Full Text Select (H.W. Wilson). Web. 17 Nov. 2013.


Coker, Jeffrey Scott. "Crossing The Species Boundary: Genetic Engineering As Conscious

Evolution."Futurist 46.1 (2012): 23-27. Professional Development Collection. Web. 17

Nov. 2013.


Cole, Steven W.1, coles@ucla.edu. "Social Regulation Of Human Gene Expression: Mechanisms

And Implications For Public Health." American Journal Of Public Health 103.S1 (2013):

S84-S92. OmniFile Full Text Select (H.W. Wilson). Web. 17 Nov. 2013.


Epstein, David. "The Future." Sports Illustrated 108.11 (2008): 44. MAS Ultra - School Edition.

Web. 17 Nov. 2013.


Morozova, Olena1, and Marco A.1, mmarra@bcgsc.ca Marra. "From Cytogenetics To

Next-Generation Sequencing Technologies: Advances In The Detection Of Genome

Rearrangements In Tumors." Biochemistry & Cell Biology 86.2 (2008): 81-91. OmniFile

Full Text Select (H.W. Wilson). Web. 17 Nov. 2013.


Portela, Anna1, and Manel2, mesteller@iconcologia.net Esteller. "Epigenetic Modifications And

Human Disease." Nature Biotechnology 28.10 (2010): 1057-1068. OmniFile Full Text

Select (H.W. Wilson). Web. 17 Nov. 2013.


Powell, Russell Kahane, Guy Savulescu, Julian. "Evolution, Genetic Engineering, And Human

Enhancement." Philosophy & Technology 25.4 (2012): 439-458. Professional

Development Collection. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.


Roginski, Alexandra. "Unnatural Selection." Chronicle Of Higher Education (2013): 34-35.

Professional Development Collection. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.