Genetic Engineering

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

– Arthur C. Clark-

As a term, genetic engineering has been defined as the process of altering and modifying the human genome. Essentially, it involves altering the blueprints of the human being. The technology involves recombinant DNA technology, in which DNA is separated from one species and replaced with DNA from another species in order to create a hybrid DNA structure. While there are concerns regarding unethical and unsafe practices involved in gene cloning in genetic engineering, this technology can be used to benefit mankind in the long run.

For instance, gene therapy is used to treat genetic diseases by correcting defective genes. As a result, it is capable of curing and preventing any diseases that may arise in the future. Despite its complexity, this is an exciting and potentially life-changing treatment option for individuals suffering from rare genetic diseases as well as cancer and other serious diseases.

A variety of genetic diseases can be treated through genetic engineering, such as sickle cell anemia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, Huntington’s chorea, and Lesch-Nyhan syndrome as well as hundreds of genetic disorders can be diagnosed with genetic engineering. There is little to no effectiveness in alternative therapies to treat these diseases.

While genetic engineering has hundreds of benefits, it also has several disadvantages, rather potential dangers. When genetic manipulation is used to enhance sports performance, a practice known as “gene doping”, and its users may gain unfair advantages. In the context of gene modification, who are we not to predict that superhuman abilities could be developed? At the embryonic stage, gene editing may be used to diagnose and treat human diseases. It can, however, be used for the purpose of selecting and enhancing embryos, which can have detrimental health effects.

In the right hands, genetic engineering has the potential to uproot humankind, but if used incorrectly it has the potential to exterminate the human race altogether.

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