Genetic Engineering

The engineering of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is entirely new, yet genetics, as a field of science, has fascinated mankind for over 2,000 years. Man has always tried to bend nature around his will through selective breeding and other forms of practical genetics. Today, scientists have a greater understanding of genetics and its role in living organisms. Unfortunately, some people are trying to stop further studies in genetics, but the research being conducted today will serve to better mankind tomorrow. Among many benefits of genetic engineering are the several cures being developed for presently incurable diseases. Genetics has also opened the door way to biological solutions for world problems, as well as aid for body malfunctions. Genetic engineering is a fundamental 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 curing and treating major medical illnesses. The Human Genome Project has allowed geneticists 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 show geneticists which genes are responsible for certain inherited diseases. Identified genes could be repaired, resulting in the irradiation of inherited diseases, such as cancer. Just last year, the locations of genes for several diseases were confirmed and may soon be correctable. Secondly, research in genetics has brought about a new medical field, genetic counseling. Couples planning to have children can visit a genetic counselor and identify what medical difficulties their child may have.

With continued research in genetics, couples will have the opportunity to become aware of a greater number of medical conditions that may affect their child and can make the proper adjustments needed in advance. Lastly, and perhaps the most important advancement in the curing and treating of illnesses, geneticists are developing a new method for removing viruses from human bodiesDNA scissors. This new method works in a similar way that antibiotics does. When antibodies enter our internal system they attack a specific type of enemy cell or virus and destroy it. Likewise, DNA scissors enter the body and attack a specific type of enemy virus or cell. DNA scissors are much more effective than conventional antibiotics because they enter the enemy cell and unravel their DNA.

With dysfunctional DNA, a cell is a pile of lipids and proteins; cancerous tumors will turn to harmless dumps of organic material, that can be filtered out by the 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 stand between 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, and faster, without doing any damage to the environment. With today’s knowledge of genetic engineering, several food companies are investigating possibilities of making 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 them resistant to insects.

With such features, dangerous chemicals like DDT that harm the environment, plants, animals, and humans would not be needed. Other enhancements would include prolonged life spans for food products after harvesting. For example, tomatoes have been engineered to last longer so they do not have to be harvested early. Thus, it is unnecessary to spray chemicals on them to prematurely change their color. While the US has not yet approved the new crops, several countries have and are making great profits off them. Finally, through a proccess known as gene splicing, geneticists are able to cross different organisms and therefore breed beneficial life forms. The Supreme Court ruled that scientists can patent newly created life forms, so several companies have invested in genetic research. General Electric provided the funding for a team of geneticists to create a new life form; the result was oil eating bacteria.

The bacteria consume oil and are of no threat to the environment, so far. A major use for the bacteria is to clean shores after an oil spill. It is impossible to clean every drop of oil on the shoreline, so the bacteria are released to remove any traces of oil tediously and perfectly. General Electric is in the process of obtaining , or already has obtained a patent for the bacteria. It is quite clear that genetics will have an active role in our quest for 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 have chemical deficiencies. The most well-known example of such a supplement is insulin.

In the 1800’s, diabetics received insulin from sheep, yet as it can be imagined, it took a great deal of sheep to sustain one person. After the discovery of DNA, geneticists used gene splicing to develop a bacterium to produce insulin. By cloning the human gene for insulin and inserting it into bacteria known as E. coli, the scientists created bacteria that produced insulin and 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 are always getting longer, and people are losing their lives as a result. In the future, geneticists would be able to clone pieces of organs and, then, make organs for surgeries involving transplants.

Geneticists may even be able to clone cells from damaged organs and then engineer exact duplicates. Genetics will definitely have a large impact on correcting of malfunctions in the human body. Without doubt, genetic engineering has already helped make human life easier and will continue to do so in the future, provided that research on genetic engineering continues. All advancements in science have led to positive and negative results, yet, the rewards of genetics greatly outweigh the disadvantages. Mankind is entering a new era in medicinegenetic engineeringone that has received criticism. As the field of genetics inevitably becomes integrated with medical practice, people may continue to protest against what they believe genetic engineering will unleash on our society. Rather than allowing 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.