Ethics of Genetic Engineering and Gene Editing
Ethics of Genetic Engineering and Gene Editing. Genetic engineering involves selecting a genetic material of an organism and inserting it into another one to refine its capabilities; on the other hand, gene editing presumes a specific change by either adding or removing DNA. Biochemists Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen developed genetic engineering in 1973. These techniques have allowed the production of essential medical products, offering better disease control, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of complex diseases. Therefore, genetic engineering and gene editing are important to human health because they allow the study and development of specific genes and the enhancement of organisms.
Genetic engineering and gene editing have created possibilities for enhancing and developing better genomes.
Genetic engineering and gene editing have created possibilities for enhancing and developing better genomes, hence curing diseases and modifying medicines like insulin. As such, gene therapy requires replacing an affected gene to improve immunity to various diseases like cancer and heart diseases (Tamurai & Toda, 2020). Where genetic selection cannot eliminate proneness, gene editing can reduce the risk of congenital diseases. Similarly, gene editing can reduce the rate of aging by replacing old cells with new ones. According to a blog post by Synthego (2018), using Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat (CRISPR) technology does not stop aging per se but rather aids in reducing the occurrence of diseases and increasing the quality of life as people age. Ultimately, it is clear that genetic modification and gene editing have created developments and enhancements in human life.
Gene editing may activate the evolution of bacteria.
However, contrary to the benefits, genetic engineering impacts major risks such as resistance to modern antibiotics and the creation of lethal weapons. Gene editing may activate the evolution of bacteria, hence developing antibiotic resistance. Duan et al. (2021) estimate that about 10 million humans may die annually due to multi-drug resistance (p. 2). As well, biogenetics can convert harmless pathogens into deadly viruses. Lau (2021) writes that using a virus as a bioweapon accelerates the spread among humans; for example, Ebola. The affordability of gene editing technologies makes it easier for genetic engineers to make bioweapons. To reduce the creation of bioweapons, ethics leaders should do surveys, review all research areas, and ensure no labs are weaponizing microbes. Conclusively, humans should not fully embrace genetic engineering and gene editing due to the visible risks of bioterrorism in societies.
Genetic modification has created various implications for social and cultural beliefs
Genetic modification has created various implications for social and cultural beliefs. Firstly, most people believe that gene editing will not protect the welfare of future generations. Recombinant DNA technology will aid in reducing genetic diseases, but if humans use it fanatically, it will eliminate various diversities in society (Gyngell, 2017). As a result, humans are trying to protect the unborn generation through interventions in bioengineering. Secondly, people living in poorer communities demand ethical and fair distributions of medical intercessions to advance their quality of life; Genetic engineering should not lead to discrimination and division of society (Halpern, 2019). Genetic modification has raised concerns about its effects on humans; for example, irreversible alteration of genes could eliminate some groups in the future and cause division in society. Hence, it is important to introduce interventions that will protect the unborn generation while practicing solidarity.
Genetic engineering and gene editing aid in studying, advancing, and developing better genomes. This biogenetics has aided in curing diseases and modifying medicine like insulin. Nonetheless, some developers use genetics to create harmful pathogens and lethal weapons. Similarly, excessive alteration of genes may lead to the permanent elimination of various groups in society. To avoid such circumstances, humans should use two major societal principles: protecting the unborn and upholding social justice and solidarity. In the interim, humans should take caution while adopting biogenetics, as the research on the effects is incomplete.
Duan, C., Cao, H., Zhang, L., & Xu, Z. (2021). Harnessing the CRISPR-Cas systems to combat antimicrobial resistance. Frontiers in Microbiology, 12(716064), 1-9. file:///C:/Users/HP/Downloads/fmicb-12-716064.pdf
Gyngell, C. (2017). Gene editing and the health of future generations. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 110(7), 276-279. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5524257/
Halpern, J., Doxzen, K. W., Witkowsky, L. B., & Owen, A. L. (2019). Societal and Ethical Impacts of Germline Genome Editing: How Can We Secure Human Rights? The CRISPR Journal, 2(5), 293-298. https://doi.org/10.1089/crispr.2019.0042
Lau, P. L. (2021, November 15). How gene editing could be used as a weapon, and what to do about it. The Conversation, https://phys.org/news/2021-11-gene-weapon.html
Tamurai, R., & Toda, M. (2020). Historic overview of genetic engineering technologies for human gene therapy. Neurologia medico-chirurgica (Tokyo), 60(10), 483-491. https://doi.org/10.2176/nmc.ra.2020-0049
The Bench. (2018, July 3). Can CRISPR stop or reverse aging? Synthego, https://www.synthego.com/blog/can-crispr-stop-us-from-aging