Pros and Cons of Genetic Engineering - corichandler


Dec 11, 2012 (4 years and 6 months ago)


Pros and Cons of Genetic Engineering

The science of indirectly changing or cloning an organism's genes is called genetic
engineering. Genetic engineering can bring about a great amount of drastic changes in an
organism’s traits by the altering its DNA.. L
ike any other science, genetic engineering
also has pros and cons. Let us look at some of them.

Pros of Genetic Engineering

Crops like potato, tomato, soybean and rice are now being genetically engineered to have
better nutritional qualities and to grow
faster. The genetically engineered crops are
expected to have a capacity to grow on lands that are presently not suitable for
cultivation. For example, these new crops might have genes that allow them to survive
on less water or use less space for their r
oot system. Changing the genetics of these crops
has even been known to help these foods taste better.

Furthermore, scientists have been able to change the genes of certain seeds so that they
are resistant to pests and can survive in a relatively harsh cl
imatic conditions. The
recently identified plant gene known as At
DBF2, when inserted in tomato and tobacco
cells is seen to increase their endurance to harsh soil and climatic conditions. The process
can also be used to slow down the process of food spoil
age and can therefore result in
fruits and vegetables that can stay ripe longer during transportation or being shelved at
grocery stores.

A specialized branch of genetic engineering, which is known as human genetic
engineering, is the science of modifying

the genotypes of human beings before birth. The
process can be used to change certain traits in an individual. Scientists can use this
technique to enhance positive traits like strength, intelligence and life expectancy; or they
can use it to suppress ge
netic disorders like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and
Huntington's disease where someone’s only hope for cure is human genetic engineering.

If the genes responsible for the exceptional qualities in some individuals can be
discovered, these gen
es can be artificially introduced into genotypes of other human
beings. For example, if scientist could locate and determine the exact code for the gene
that determined a strong ability to problem solve, genetic engineers could modify the
genotype of an un
born baby so that they could carry that gene.

Cons of Genetic Engineering

First, in terms of plants and crops, Genetic Engineering can cause widespread crop
failure. When a farmer plants genetically engineered seeds, all the seeds have identical

structures. Thus if a fungus, pest, or virus grows which can attack this certain
crop, there would be a widespread crop failure. The wind, insects, and plants can all carry
genetically changed seeds onto close fields and land. Once normal plants produce p
they can cross polinate with the genetically engineered crops. Thus all crops, organic and
organic, are threatened by contamination. Also, this contamination is different from
other kinds of pollution, because once the genes are out, they cannot

be recalled. The
genes of the population are forever altered.

Also many genetically engineered crops have (Bt)
toxin resistant gene on them. When
eating this gene, helpful organisms such as ladybirds, bees, and butterflies are killed.
Moreover, if a p
lant that carries a Bt
toxin resistant gene dies and its remains fall back to
Earth, earthworms and other organisms who live in the soil are threatened.

Therefore, do we want these harmful genetically engineered products in our food, as well
as these pr
oducts destroying our agricultural system? We certainly do not. Genetically
engineered food material from organisms that have never been part of the normal supply
of human food and the changes that we are making to our food supply could have
dramatic unsee
n affects

The same goes for altering human genetics, we simply do not know the long term
potential problems of altering genes. The human gene structure is a maze of complicated
signals and pathways. By making a change to one gene even if it’s a positive o
ne, there
are unknown affects to other genes.

It also should be noted that human genetic engineering is very expensive. What kind of
divide in equality will occur if rich people have the opportunity to choose positive traits
for their unborn babies and p
oor people do not?