Genetic EngineeringThe engineering of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is entirely new, yet genetics, asa field of science, has fascinated mankind for over 2,000 years. Man has alwaystried to bend nature around his will through selective breeding and other formsof practical genetics. Today, scientists have a greater understanding ofgenetics and its role in living organisms. Unfortunately, some people aretrying to stop further studies in genetics, but the research being conductedtoday will serve to better mankind tomorrow. Among many benefits of geneticengineering are the several cures being developed for presently incurablediseases. Genetics has also opened the door way to biological solutions forworld problems, as well as aid for body malfunctions. Genetic engineering is afundamental tool for leading the world of medicine into the future; therefore,it is crucial to continue research in this field.
Today’s research in genetic engineering is bringing about new methods for curingand treating major medical illnesses. The Human Genome Project has allowedgeneticists to map the genes of human beings. This project is far from complete,as the DNA sequence of humans is extremely long, yet it will eventually showgeneticists which genes are responsible for certain inherited diseases.Identified genes could be repaired, resulting in the irradiation of inheriteddiseases, such as cancer. Just last year, the locations of genes for severaldiseases were confirmed and may soon be correctable. Secondly, research ingenetics has brought about a new medical field, genetic counseling. Couplesplanning to have children can visit a genetic counselor and identify whatmedical difficulties their child may have.
With continued research in genetics,couples will have the opportunity to become aware of a greater number ofmedical conditions that may affect their child and can make the properadjustments needed in advance. Lastly, and perhaps the most importantadvancement in the curing and treating of illnesses, geneticists are developinga new method for removing viruses from human bodiesDNA scissors. This newmethod works in a similar way that antibiotics does. When antibodies enter ourinternal system they attack a specific type of enemy cell or virus and destroyit. Likewise, DNA scissors enter the body and attack a specific type of enemyvirus or cell.
DNA scissors are much more effective than conventionalantibiotics because they enter the enemy cell and unravel their DNA. Withdysfunctional DNA, a cell is a pile of lipids and proteins; cancerous tumorswill turn to harmless dumps of organic material, that can be filtered out bythe body. DNA scissors will affect things that antibiotics cannot, like AIDS.(Not even AIDS can function without DNA). One day the only thing that will standbetween medical diseases and their cure will be the analysis of their DNA.Genetics now offers a new way to solve the general problems of the world.
First,genetic research makes it possible for food to be grown safer, better, andfaster, without doing any damage to the environment. With today’s knowledge ofgenetic engineering, several food companies are investigating possibilities ofmaking more food in less time. Through a process know as gene therapy,geneticists have the ability to modify parts of genetic material in organisms.Geneticists can add attributes to crops, like tomatoes, that would make themresistant to insects. With such features, dangerous chemicals like DDT that harmthe environment, plants, animals, and humans would not be needed.
Otherenhancements would include prolonged life spans for food products afterharvesting. For example, tomatoes have been engineered to last longer so theydo not have to be harvested early. Thus, it is unnecessary to spray chemicals onthem to prematurely change their color. While the US has not yet approved thenew crops, several countries have and are making great profits off them. Finally,through a proccess known as gene splicing, geneticists are able to crossdifferent organisms and therefore breed beneficial life forms. The Supreme Courtruled that scientists can patent newly created life forms, so several companieshave invested in genetic research. General Electric provided the funding for ateam of geneticists to create a new life form; the result was oil eatingbacteria.
The bacteria consume oil and are of no threat to the environment, sofar. A major use for the bacteria is to clean shores after an oil spill. It isimpossible to clean every drop of oil on the shoreline, so the bacteria arereleased to remove any traces of oil tediously and perfectly. General Electricis in the process of obtaining , or already has obtained a patent for thebacteria. It is quite clear that genetics will have an active role in our questfor solving world problems.Genetic Engineering makes it possible to treat and correct bodily malfunctions.First, the use of genetics allows us to produce supplements for those who havechemical deficiencies. The most well-known example of such a supplement isinsulin.
In the 1800’s, diabetics received insulin from sheep, yet as it can beimagined, it took a great deal of sheep to sustain one person. After thediscovery of DNA, geneticists used gene splicing to develop a bacterium toproduce insulin. By cloning the human gene for insulin and inserting it intobacteria known as E. coli, the scientists created bacteria that produced insulinand when the bacteria reproduced, they reproduced the human gene as well. Next,genetic engineering will make it possible to create vital organs for transplants.A major medical difficulty today is the lack of organ donors.
Waiting lists arealways getting longer, and people are losing their lives as a result. In thefuture, geneticists would be able to clone pieces of organs and, then, makeorgans for surgeries involving transplants. Geneticists may even be able toclone cells from damaged organs and then engineer exact duplicates. Geneticswill definitely have a large impact on correcting of malfunctions in the humanbody.Without doubt, genetic engineering has already helped make human life easier andwill continue to do so in the future, provided that research on geneticengineering continues. All advancements in science have led to positive andnegative results, yet, the rewards of genetics greatly outweigh thedisadvantages. Mankind is entering a new era in medicinegenetic engineeringonethat has received criticism. As the field of genetics inevitably becomesintegrated with medical practice, people may continue to protest against whatthey believe genetic engineering will unleash on our society.
Rather thanallowing fear and ignorance to derail one of the most humane efforts underway,scientists and the society must find bridges of communication and understanding,through education, to promote the benefits of genetic engineering.