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Human genetic engineering

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Human genetic engineering is the deliberate modification of the characteristics of a human by manipulating its genetic material. Although we may or may not realize it, human genetic engineering has been practiced for many years. There are many different forms of genetic engineering, most notably, gene therapy. Some of these treatments can be risky because they are still experimental and can range from non aggressive to invasive, depending on the situation. There are many positive uses to use these medical practices. Incurable diseases can be cured, people will not have to fear about getting sick, and mental and physical abnormalities will be virtually obsolete. With the many good uses that genetic engineering can give us, there are also many negative aspects and possibly deadly repercussions to come from this. It is a debate between risking the well being of one thing, to save another. It is important to fully understand what genetic engineering means for humanity. Will it be beneficial to those in need, or will it be detrimental to the health of humanity?

CRISPR-Cas9 can inject DNA plasmid into a cell in order to correct a gene that is causing problems. It cuts the sequence at the target location and places itself in between the cut.

Kinds of Human Genetic Engineering

Gene therapy is one example of human genetic engineering. This medical practice has been praised for its effectiveness in treating diseases that were once incurable, but it has also been scrutinized for its ethical issues. Gene therapy, although used fairly often, is still experimental. Currently, the only use for this form of therapy is treating patients with incurable diseases. This treatment can also help prevent diseases on a cellular level. Different procedures can be done to treat the patient. Gene augmentation therapy, one form of gene therapy, adds DNA which contains a good version of the lost gene back into the problematic cell. Although there is a success rate, there is a change that the cell will accept it and continue to help cure the sickness. Another way to use gene therapy as a potential cure for diseases is gene inhibition therapy, which eliminates the activity of a gene that grows diseased cells by adding a gene that blocks the activity or expression of the sick gene. Gene therapy has many good uses, but is also challenging to accomplish due to the many specific steps that it must accomplish. Because it is up to chance, there are many ways in which the procedure might not work. The new gene that is inserted has the potential to disrupt other genes in the cell, resulting in damaging side effects such as causing a diseases, or possibly even cancer. [1]

Fetal Use

Genetic engineering of human life is most notably used in fetuses to detect chromosomal abnormalities and anything that would be cause for concern. Many clinics use different tests to detect these conditions, mostly using Antenatal tests. These tests include a screening test, which lets expecting mothers and their doctors know if the baby has a high or low risk of abnormalities. Some conditions found from this test are Down syndrome, Edwards' syndrome, and Spina bifida. If the baby has a high risk of abnormalities, the mother then takes a diagnostic test. This diagnostic test gives a clear answer to whether or not the baby has an abnormality. From the results of this test, the mother then decides how she wants to plan her pregnancy. There are other different tests a mother can take that include Non-invasive prenatal testing and Combined first (and second) trimester screening [2]

Millions of people use insulin when they are in need. If human genetic engineering continues, we will not just have an easy way to produce insulin, but create baby's without diabetes.

Gene Therapy in the Medical Field

Genetic engineering in humans is not only used to detect, and possibly cure a deformity or disease from within, but creates and strengthens pharmaceutical products. New, and better medication and tools are created to use on humans are created by cloning certain genes. This process allows genes to be not only strengthened, but also used as a way to create new drugs for patients who have incurable diseases and deformities. This could revolutionize the medical industry by potentially curing diseases that people regularly die from, causing deadly sicknesses to be virtually nonexistent. Although there are many ways we could use genetic engineering in the future, presently we are already producing genetically engineered medication. Insulin is one of the largest genetically engineered cell that can be grown in a lab. It used to be hard to grow insulin cells in a lab until researchers found a way to produce it at a high rate. Scientists found, that, by cutting the insulin DNA out of a pancreas cell and letting it grow with bacteria, the growing bacteria, once isolated, can be used as insulin for diabetics. Not only are scientists revolutionizing the way we treat common diseases, but they are also paving a way for treating less common deformities using stem cells. Stem cells, which can be found in humans as well as scientifically produced, are basically blank cells that can be virtually transformed into any type of living cell. Scientists use stem cells and other healthy living cells to replace deformed human cells. This can help treat the diseases that researchers have yet to find a cure for. There is no saying when genetic engineering in the medical field will slow down, if ever. [3]

How Should Christians React to This?

Because human genetic engineering most notably involves gene therapy, which uses the cells of unborn fetuses, Christians should not support this form of medical experimentation. There is no saying as to how many fetuses will be killed in order to further the knowledge of gene therapy. In order to gather the cells necessary to achieve the desired outcome, there is the possibility for hundreds of fetuses to be destroyed. If you are killing one life in order to save another, are you truly saving a life? To take the life of a human, no matter how old, is a sin in God's eyes. Many verses in the Bible condemn the act of murder, even if it could potentially help another person's life. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Humans are made by God, in his image, why should we take the life of someone created by God? It is easy to say that taking the life of a fetus who has not been born yet in order to save the life of a human who is far into their life is a good compromise. Although that may sound reasonable, one must take a look at what God himself has to say. There are many amazing ways that we can use genetic engineering on humans. We have the scientific potential to save millions of lives and cure diseases that have been affecting people for so long. Human genetic engineering is revolutionizing the medical field and will continue to grow until the end of time. [4]

Video

This video talks about whether or not we could have genetically engineered humans using new technology. If we can have genetically modified babies, does that mean we should?....

References

  1. [1] Welcome Genome Campus. Web. last-modified December 19, 2012
  2. [2] Raising Children Network. Web. last-modified July 4, 2016
  3. Robb, Amanda. [3] Study.com. Web. Accessed on 7 May 2018
  4. [4] Got Questions Ministries. Web. Accessed on 7 May 2018