Genetic Engineering Current Topics.docx - suttonscience


Dec 12, 2012 (4 years and 6 months ago)


Genetic Engineering

Current Topics




In recent years, medical science has progressed to the point where genes can be changed
through genetic engineering. In this process, scientists insert genetic instructions to make a
specific protein into a cell’s DNA. The cell will make the protein, wh
ich affects a particular trait,
and the cell will pass the new instructions on to the offspring.

Genetic engineering gives scientists the ability to improve and alter the basic composition of a
living cell. This is called biotechnology. In this activi
ty, you will consider ethical issues
regarding biotechnology, genetic engineering and genetic testing.

Part One

Brainstorm the risks and benefits associ
ated with genetic engineering.

For example, if you removed the gene for hemophilia from the gene pool,

people would no
longer suffer from this chronic condition. Would that be a risk or a benefit?







Part Two

Different perspectives on genetic engineering

You will read a scenario concerning Cystic Fibrosis and genetic engineering. You
will then
examine the scenario from the perspective of one of six individuals, including a religious person
and a molecular biologist.

Scenario: Genetic Testing and Cystic Fibrosis

A couple has undergone genetic testing and discovered that both parents a
re carriers for cystic
fibrosis, a disease characterized by a deficiency of certain enzymes needed for digestion and
respiratory health. Some specialists have recommended against the couple's having children,
stating that cystic fibrosis is a serious disea
se that usually shortens an individual's life span. On
the other hand, great advances have been made in research, and people with cystic fibrosis are
now living longer lives of a higher quality than ever before. In addition, it's possible that a cure
for c
ystic fibrosis could be found within the next 25 years. The couple is trying to decide what
to do and is interested in the viewpoints of the people listed below.

After reading YOUR perspective, write a one paragraph (4
5 sentences) position statement fro

that individual’s perspective.


Position Statement:

Once you have completed your position statement, you will form a group with the other
members of the class that have the same position statement. Discuss your position statements
and develop a group consensus on biotechnology and genetic engineering. Th
e following
websites might help you develop a group consensus:

National Center for Biotechnology

Medical College of Wisconsin

Bioethics Online

University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics

Next, create 1

2 power point slides explaining your position statement. You will be graded on
the following rubric:




Position statement

Ability to write a
clear, succinct, well
researched position

Ability to write an
adequate position

Inability to write a
clear position

Group work/Slides

Cooperative work in a
group to develop a
consensus of opinion

Cooperative work in a
group to develop a
consensus of opinion,
but with some
disengagement from
the group

Minimal contribution
to cooperative group


Active participation in
the final class

Some involvement
and interest in fin
class discussion

No involvement in
final class discussion


Religious person:
“I am opposed to the manipulation of human genes for any
purpose. It’s just not right. Who are we to be playing God?”

am undecided about the use of genetic engineering in reproductive
medicine. What we want is to enjoy the benefits of the technology while minimizing the

“I think we should accept human gene engineering, make it legal, regulate it,
and make
sure it's done in a responsible way.”

Expectant father with an inherited heart condition that may be passed on to

“Although the technology to diagnose my child’s susceptibility to my heart
condition is available, it still is a scary piece of kno
wledge to have in reproductive
decision making, and I’m not sure I want to go through with the screening.”

Molecular biologist:
“I am in favor of genetic engineering for reproductive purposes.
It is just a better way of doing what animal breeders and bota
nists have already done to
improve their livestock and agriculture.”

“Eventually it will be possible to pick genes for virtually any inherited
human characteristic. I support this technology because it will make it possible for
parents to corr
ect genetic defects and improve the genes of our children.”