CommentarySyndicated 14 By Anastasia Bodnar and Karl Haro von Mogel It seems like every news article about genetic engineering gives a nod to unknown risks to the environment or human health that are unique to genetic engineering. What are those risks, and are they really unique? Before we get into the details of specific potential risks, there are three things we need to consider. Is a risk unique to genetic engineering as a whole or risks of individual traits of categories of traits?
It can be described rather generally as any genetic manipulation that allows an organism to perform new functions or produce new substances. The unravelling of DNA and the mapping of a diverse range of organisms such as humans, dogs and viruses, is giving us unprecedented knowledge into how nature works.
But the technology is not without its critics, and just as genetic engineering has many plus points, there are also some cons that must be considered.
Many crops such as rice, maize, and potatoes are being genetically engineered in several ways. Proponents argue that the benefits are many; 1 higher crop yields 2 more nutritious food 3 crops can be grown in harsh environments 4 they are more resistant to pests thus eliminating the use of potentially hazardous pesticides 5 undesirable characteristics can be removed 6 food can have a better flavour and a longer shelf life and 7 they can also be used as a cheap source of medicine.
To treat many life-threatening illnesses genetic engineering aims to replace faulty genes with perfect working copies. The potential is incredible. Plus our expectations were probably too high from the start.
Cons of Genetic Engineering In terms of gene therapy this can be a dangerous procedure. A virus is being used as a vector to get the genes inside, and some fear that even though the virulence factors have been silenced, danger is still at hand.
There have been several deaths in gene therapy trials, most famously that of Jesse Gelsinger in Opposition to the use of genetic engineering in food and agriculture centres on several fears. Namely that any gene for herbicide resistance may spread into other crops and create some form of superweed; or that a genetic modification that is passed on say through pollination, might pose a hazard to the ecosystem.
There are many more pros and cons of genetic engineering than the few that are listed here, and all are argued passionately by advocates on both sides, many clutching reams of data to back up their arguments. What is certain is that even though many are concerned with its speed of introduction, fearing that it is going too fast for society to understand any and all possible implications, genetic engineering is here to stay.
Genetic Engineering and Society Of course there are many people who view this kind of genetic manipulation as against nature. Proponents of genetic engineering counter this by arguing that man has been manipulating genomes for centuries with the selective breeding of crops and cattle.
That some see it as against nature is a redundant argument, unless they want to go back and live in a cave. Innovation and finding solutions to problems is what we humans are good at. However, to stop the progress of technology is against nature, human nature.
We are born with inquiring minds, we like fixing things; it enhances us as a species. This is not to give carte blanche to scientists and engineers though; innovation should never be conducted in a moral vacuum.Apr 21, · In the Going Further section, we provide resources for investigating the gene-editing process in more detail and considering the benefits and risks of additional genetic engineering applications, including editing human DNA.
The benefits of human genetic engineering can be found in the headlines nearly every day.
With the successful cloning of mammals and the completion of the Human Genome Project, scientists all over the world are aggressively researching the many different facets of human genetic engineering. Mar 06, · Benefits and Risks of Genetic Engineering.
written by: Paul Arnold•edited by: Paul Arnold•updated: 3/6/ The goal of genetic engineering is to make debilitating diseases a thing of the past. While this is a noble goal, this branch of science also has risks. Learn about the pros and cons of genetic engineering and decide for.
They say genetic engineering poses risks that scientists simply do not know enough to identify. In fact, based on what little is known about GMOs, many scientists have identified a variety of ways in which genetically engineered organisms could adversely impact both human health and the environment, so there is reason to be concerned.
Genetically modified organisms -- plants and animals whose genes have been changed by scientists -- aren't just thought over, they're fought over.
GMOs often make news related to the environment. Disadvantages of Genetic Engineering. 1. Has associated consequences and possible irreversible effects Even scientists themselves believe that genetic engineering can have irreversible side effects, especially with hereditarily modified genes.