Sample Essay On News Article/Commentary: ‘ethics Of Embryo Editing Divides Scientists’ By David Cyranoski

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Genetics, Ethics, Science, Engineering, Genetic Engineering, DNA, Human, Pregnancy

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/01/02

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Introduction

Scientific breakthroughs in human genetics are gaining public attention as they appear to cross ethical borders. In his article, ‘Ethics of embryo editing divides scientists,’ Cyranoski reveals how even the scientific community are divided when it comes to pursuing human DNA altercations. Apparently, Cyranoski’s observation is just part of an ongoing ethical dilemma surrounding genetic research that has been undertaken starting from the work of Gregor Mendel in the 1900’s. Today, scientists claim that they are now able to edit the genetic make-up of any living organisms and that includes human beings in particular. DNA editing has enormous potential in solving pressing problems such as preventing and curing disease. However, some scientists are skeptical that the technology would also be used for non-legit applications such as creating human embryos with genetically enhanced DNA. Evidently, the ability to alter genes poses enormous medical possibilities especially in healthcare. However, the uncertainties surrounding the outcomes of these experiments create an ethical dilemma that is difficult to address.

Breakthroughs in Genetics

Little is known about why offspring seem to carry similar properties of their parents until the 1900s when Gregor Mendel started experimenting with pea plants. While experimenting on peas, Mendel presumed that there is a physical material which passes from parents to offspring which might be concealed somewhere in the reproductive cells of an organism. As he observed, the organism must retain this physical material until such time that it emerges again. Mendel called this physical material as ‘genes’. Since then, extensive research and studies have been conducted to determine the genetic make-up of living organisms most especially humans. In 1919, it was found that ‘genes’ were made up of deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. This DNA, according to Chargaff, has a unique pattern that does not repeat and varies among species. Also, an organisms DNA retains certain properties no matter what tissue it came from (Chargaff as cited in Pray, 2008). Today, it is found that any DNA can be edited to resemble another DNA. The DNA of a pig, for example, can be engineered to resemble that of human DNA. Today, tissues can be grown in the lab and that means any kind of tissue for that matter.

Ethical Issues

Conducting human experiments has always been viewed as unethical. In Cyranoski’s article, for example, several notable scientists have expressed their concern regarding this practice. As stated by Lanphier, “We are humans, not transgenic rats”. But how far can people remain in this ethical stand when there is too much at stake. As observed by Cyranoski, scientists are discussing the posibility of humanizing pig embryos, which they are eyeing as a potential solution to organ transplant in humans. Also, genetic engineering has enormous potential for curing deadly diseases such as HIV and cancer. Accordinly, genes can be altered in such a way that they resist the intrusion of the HIV virus as well as protect humans against cancer cells. But despite the advantages of genetic editing, these scientific breakthroughs comes in conflict with established moral and ethical norms. According to Glenn, genetic engineering poses threats such as legal conflicts, health risks and environmental risks among many others. To resolve the ethical dilemma that surrounds genetic engineering, ethical theories of utilitarianism and deontology can be employed. In order to pass for utilitarianisms, genetic engineering must prove that it is for the best interest of the majority . Also, under deontology, it must be established that genetic engineering is performed out of duty and could not be avoided. It is still difficult to predict if the outcome of genetic engineering will elicit more good than bad but scientists are duty bound to perform genetic engineering experiments for the sake of scientific development. So while genetic engineering may fail under utilitarianism, it can be considered ethical under deontology.

Conclusion

As observed in Cyranoski’s article, ‘Ethics of embryo editing divides scientists,’ modern breakthroughs in genetic science have revealed that scientists can now practically do almost anything; even create new specie. While these discoveries may unravel some of the mysteries of life, there is always that ethical dilemma that holds back the implementation of such findings in human subjects. It should be noted though that ethics is relative and depends on who views a particular scenario. When analyzed under ethical theories of utilitarianism and deontology, genetic engineering may be considered ethical if common good is realized as its outcome or if it is performed out of duty towards society. . However, it is quite difficult to make an ethical stand on genetic engineering based on utilitarianism primarily because the long term outcome of genetic engineering is still uncertain. Even so, scientists are obligated to conduct experiments out of their duty to science; and so under deontology, genetic engineering may be considered as ethical. Whatever ethical consideration is taken, it is only logical to think that genetic experiments have implications that may not be reversed. For the same reason, if such experiments must be conducted, it has to be conducted with utmost caution and respect to human dignity.

References

Cyranoski, D. (2015, March). Ethics of embryo editing divides scientists. Retrieved March 2015, from http://www.nature.com/news/ethics-of-embryo-editing-divides-scientists-1.17131
Glenn, L. (2013, November). Ethical Issues in Genetic Engineering and Transgenics. Retrieved March 2015, from http://www.actionbioscience.org/: http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotechnology/glenn.html
Hull, R. (1979). The Varieties of Ethical Theories. Retrieved March 2015, from http://www.richard-t-hull.com/: http://www.richard-t-hull.com/publications/varieties.pdf
National Institute of General Medical Sciences. (n.d.). The New Genetics. Retrieved November 2013, from http://publications.nigms.nih.gov/: http://publications.nigms.nih.gov/thenewgenetics/chapter1.html#c1
Pray, L. (2008). Discovery of DNA Structure and Function: Watson and Crick. Retrieved November 2013, from http://www.nature.com/: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/discovery-of-dna-structure-and-function-watson-397

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WePapers. (2021, January, 02) Sample Essay On News Article/Commentary: ‘ethics Of Embryo Editing Divides Scientists’ By David Cyranoski. Retrieved December 06, 2021, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/sample-essay-on-news-article-commentary-ethics-of-embryo-editing-divides-scientists-by-david-cyranoski/
"Sample Essay On News Article/Commentary: ‘ethics Of Embryo Editing Divides Scientists’ By David Cyranoski." WePapers, 02 Jan. 2021, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/sample-essay-on-news-article-commentary-ethics-of-embryo-editing-divides-scientists-by-david-cyranoski/. Accessed 06 December 2021.
WePapers. 2021. Sample Essay On News Article/Commentary: ‘ethics Of Embryo Editing Divides Scientists’ By David Cyranoski., viewed December 06 2021, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/sample-essay-on-news-article-commentary-ethics-of-embryo-editing-divides-scientists-by-david-cyranoski/>
WePapers. Sample Essay On News Article/Commentary: ‘ethics Of Embryo Editing Divides Scientists’ By David Cyranoski. [Internet]. January 2021. [Accessed December 06, 2021]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/sample-essay-on-news-article-commentary-ethics-of-embryo-editing-divides-scientists-by-david-cyranoski/
"Sample Essay On News Article/Commentary: ‘ethics Of Embryo Editing Divides Scientists’ By David Cyranoski." WePapers, Jan 02, 2021. Accessed December 06, 2021. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/sample-essay-on-news-article-commentary-ethics-of-embryo-editing-divides-scientists-by-david-cyranoski/
WePapers. 2021. "Sample Essay On News Article/Commentary: ‘ethics Of Embryo Editing Divides Scientists’ By David Cyranoski." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved December 06, 2021. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/sample-essay-on-news-article-commentary-ethics-of-embryo-editing-divides-scientists-by-david-cyranoski/).
"Sample Essay On News Article/Commentary: ‘ethics Of Embryo Editing Divides Scientists’ By David Cyranoski," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 02-Jan-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/sample-essay-on-news-article-commentary-ethics-of-embryo-editing-divides-scientists-by-david-cyranoski/. [Accessed: 06-Dec-2021].
Sample Essay On News Article/Commentary: ‘ethics Of Embryo Editing Divides Scientists’ By David Cyranoski. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/sample-essay-on-news-article-commentary-ethics-of-embryo-editing-divides-scientists-by-david-cyranoski/. Published Jan 02, 2021. Accessed December 06, 2021.
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