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“Human genetic engineering is the alteration of an individual’s genotype with the aim of choosing the phenotype of a newborn or changing the existing phenotype of a child or adult. It holds the promise of curing genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis, and increasing the immunity of people to viruses. It is speculated that genetic engineering could be used to change physical appearance, metabolism, and even improve mental faculties like memory and intelligence”. (Wikipedia) There are many risks associated with putting genes into a human body while getting the desired results.
There are genes that are carried in on viral vectors and we have altered these budgets so that they do not infect a person with a disease. There have been several deaths in gene therapy trials, such as “Jesse Gelsinger”, in 1999. Genetic engineering has attracted much controversy, pros and cons. There have been cries that scientists are “playing God” and this will lead to a two-tier society or as some would say; the haves and have- nots. This isn’t any different that the cries that were heard across the world when Louise Brown, the first child to be conceived by IVF treatment, was born.
This was in the late 1970’s. Today IVF is a common but expensive fertility treatment. Genetic engineering holds the potential that parents would assemble their children genetically, to be smarter or more athletic or have a certain eye or hair color. It is this genetic engineering of humans that frighten people. They are afraid that we would somehow design the human race. But then again, people say that this could be a benefit to be able to sort out the genes that criminals have and weed it out.
It is also said that a genetically engineered human could suffer from a reduced sense of individuality. A cloned child might feel that their future is worth less than a non cloned child. Critics also argue that cloning would encourage parents to value how well child can genetically meet their expectations rather than loving them for who they are. It is also said that with cloning humans, that parents and society would view their children as objects rather than a person with actually feelings.
If human cloning becomes a reality and a regular social practice, parents might want to “play the lottery” and chose their child genetically. One of the saddest parts about genetic engineering is that it could end human individuality. Everyone would want to be skinny, muscular, beautiful, and intelligent and who knows what else. If your DNA could be shaped would you choose inferior traits? This could possibly end artistic expression and individuality, and make everyone predictable, identical, and boring just like a robot.