Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering and embryo research involve removing an embryo and manipulating its material to either alter the phenotype or genotype or use them for stem cell research. Both their purposes aim for a greater good however limitations are required within this field by necessity. One may consider genetic engineering as useful but only if it is for therapeutic reasons not aesthetic which may lead to a slippery slope and for this reason there should be restrictions to both embryo research and genetic engineering.

Genetic engineering can be extremely beneficial in our society, by preventing disease, crop growth and drug creation. However allowing it for aesthetic reasons may lead to eugenics. Eugenics is social engineering, which is often considered unethical because it may lead to discrimination with the hope of forming an ideal society. If there were no limits it would seem likely that people would desire this ‘super race’, moreover even if you didn’t desire it you would lose your individuality as there would be a normal set of genes and if you didn’t match it you would be discriminated against. For example a Jewish committee in New York wished to prevent Ashkenazi Jews who carry the Tay- Sachs gene from marrying each other. This would therefore lead to us being determined by our genes, which is not an ideal world. The concept of being able to select any genes also brings up several modern day issues such as homosexuality. Would this gene be accepted in society is not considered ‘normal’? Equally how may one define what genes are ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’?

On the other hand some would argue that no restrictions should be put on the practice of embryo research and genetic engineering if there is a chance that in the future the advances would be even greater. We should look to the future, not just at the present day. This approach follows a similar line to a utilitarian that it is better to save many lives in the future by embryo research at the cost of a few...